Potential game-changers for Baltimore City and the region during the next few decades could range from Inner Harbor revitalization to strengthening the city’s rail transit and rail connections between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., according to Greater Baltimore Committee president and CEO Donald C. Fry.
Before the recession, downtown Baltimore City was in the early stages of a strong surge of economic development, particularly around its waterfront, and must position itself to resume that surge as the recession eases, Fry told business executives who attended the GBC’s speaker series event, “Game Changers: the Future of Baltimore.”
Fry updated members on the GBC’s proposal for revitalizing the Inner Harbor. The signature project of the GBC’s three-pronged proposal is development of a new complex a block from the Inner Harbor that would include a privately-financed arena and hotel connected to an expanded, publicly-financed convention center. Other GBC proposals for the harbor are redevelopment of Rash Field into a world-class urban park with a pedestrian bridge connecting the harbor’s south shore to the north shore, and the establishment of a year-round nightly light and water show spectacular at the harbor.
Meanwhile, Baltimore’s proposed light-rail Red Line from Woodlawn to Bayview would, for the first time, give the city east-west rail transit options. It would also create a comprehensive, integrated rail transit system by connecting the region’s two existing rail lines that currently come within two blocks of each other without connecting, said Fry.
Also, the development of either a maglev or high-speed rail line between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore would be a major regional transportation game-changer, said Fry.
Other potential “game changers” Fry mentioned include the Port of Baltimore’s surge as a major east-coast cargo port for new super ships that will begin calling in 2014 after the Panama Canal widening, bioscience and IT industry growth in the region, and continuing population growth and demographic trends identified in the 2010 census that will affect Baltimore, the region and state in the coming decades.