Greater Baltimore Committee, Waterfront Partnership and Mayor release Inner Harbor 2.0 Plan
Announcement coincides with release of Inner Harbor economic impact study
(Baltimore, MD) – The Waterfront Partnership, Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC) and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake were joined by Baltimore City community and business leaders today as they unveiled a plan to enhance and improve the waterfront district for future generations. Waterfront Partnership, GBC and the City worked with Ayers Saint Gross to study and provide the recommendations. The unveiling of the Inner Harbor Plan coincides with the release of findings of an economic impact study completed this month by HR&A Advisors, Inc. on the Inner Harbor using data from 2012.
“In 1973, when the Inner Harbor public promenade was completed, it set the framework for all development to follow. Heralded as a model of urban waterfront redevelopment, the Inner Harbor has treated our city and state well but after 40 years, it needs to be refurbished and updated so that it remains a viable and vital asset,” said Laurie Schwartz, executive director of Waterfront Partnership.
The planning effort led by Ayers Saint Gross incorporated charrettes and focus groups with Harbor stakeholders, residents, Baltimore youth and others from the community into the process. Plan proposals outline opportunities to increase green landscape throughout the Harbor, identifies new and strategically located free attractions and amenities to extend the destination experience throughout the Harbor district, develops a framework that knits together the promenade with public open spaces along the waterfront, guides capital planning for future renovations and improvements, and develops a model for adapting the promenade and public open spaces as a “green infrastructure” in support of the Waterfront Partnership’s Healthy Harbor initiative to make the Harbor “swimmable, fishable by 2020.”
“Thirty years ago, our Inner Harbor represented the pinnacle of urban waterfront development and was widely emulated around the world,” said Donald C. Fry, president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee. “As others improve on the concept, we cannot afford to be complacent about our waterfront. It’s a core jewel that defines Baltimore’s character. We must ensure that it remains a source of delight for our citizens and a major asset to our tourism industry, one of the economic drivers of our region.”
As a component of the study, Waterfront Partnership commissioned HR&A Advisors to measure the Inner Harbor’s economic impact on the region and the state. Key findings of the study include:
- Inner Harbor supports substantial employment (21,000 jobs) and economic impacts ($2.3 billion) annually for the City of Baltimore and the State of Maryland;
- Of the 23.3 million visitors who came to Baltimore in 2012, 14 million people from outside of the region visited the Inner Harbor, according to preliminary data. That’s 60% of all visitors to Baltimore who generate economic activity throughout the City; and
- Inner Harbor tourism and business activity accounts for $102 million in annual tax revenue to the City and State.
“For four decades, the Inner Harbor has been Baltimore’s thriving center of entertainment and tourism, as well as a pillar of growth for our great city. This study demonstrates that the Inner Harbor drives substantial economic and fiscal impacts through tourism visitation and local business activity,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “We must look ahead and take steps to ensure our Inner Harbor continues to serve as a national model of urban waterfront development.”
The community is invited to view the Inner Harbor Plan and to share their feedback as well as stories of how the Inner Harbor has impacted their lives online at www.waterfrontpartnership.org/inner-harbor-2.0.
Waterfront Partnership and Greater Baltimore Committee are pulling together detailed cost estimates and a public/private funding plan for Inner Harbor 2.0.