As I reported yesterday, the Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC) announced ambitious plans to transform downtown Baltimore and the Inner Harbor last night. They also released some pictures of what their proposed developments will look like, seen here.
The top photo shows perhaps the most intriguing of the proposals: a pedestrian bridge across the harbor, from Rash Field (near the Rusty Scupper) to Pier 5, where the Aquarium is. The bridge would create a 1.5-mile loop around the harbor that would undoubtably increase foot traffic and interest in the "far side" of the harbor, past the Science Center.
In the picture, you can see the Science Center as it currently stands in gray in the lower-right corner, and the re-designed Rash Field above it, with a playground next to green-and-white topped carousel, and a large green space with an amphitheater stage for concerts. The field could also be used for soccer and lacrosse games.
Just behind the stage, you can see where two paths cross. One leads to the footbridge over the harbor (with the two giant white posts that turn and open the bridge when large ships come into the port). The other leads to another footbridge over Key Highway, leading to the American Visionary Art Museum and Federal Hill Park—which currently feel disconnected and distant from the harbor—and further extending the size and continuity of the Inner Harbor area.
In yesterday's post, I included a view of the new arena/convention center from Conway Street, where the primary entrance to the arena will be. The second picture here shows the view from Pratt Street, where the main entrance to the expanded Baltimore Convention Center will be. It shows the modern glass-walled design, and the 50-story hotel in the background.
The last picture shows an overhead view of the proposed plans for the new arena and convention center. I think it's really interesting, because it shows how this project really brings together downtown Baltimore's two biggest attractions, Camden Yards and the Inner Harbor. The two attractions have always felt like two distinct destinations, not part of some more grand downtown area. I think this new proposal would change that, making the entire area, from the Aquarium (or even Harbor East) to the stadium feel like one, continuous area, full of attractions.
On the right side of the plan, you can see that the entrance to the new arena is just one block from Light Street and the harbor. Ideally, with the new development of the harbor, this side will feel more connected to Harborplace, the Aquarium and the attractions on the other side. And on the bottom left of the plan, the stadium is only a block from the convention center.
It's important to keep in mind that even the beginning of any of the projects is probably years away, but at least the GBC has come up with a feasible plan, with backing, that, if realized, could push Baltimore to a new level of attractiveness for tourism and residents, and boost the local economy dramatically. It's hard not to get excited about it.