On July 30th, Baltimore turned 290!
I'm writing here, to think out loud about what can be built by 2029 when Baltimore turns 300.
Below I share some of the ideas I have for improving Baltimore.
Some are grandiose, some are minimal in the scheme of things.
You might agree conceptually with some, or you might agree with none.
If you agree with none, I respect that. If you have better ideas - I'm all for that!
I'm posting these simply as talking points, with the belief that it's going to take a collective effort to help bring about needed change.
If you look at Median Income and Education rates, the Baltimore Metro is one of the most affluent areas in the Country. We've had tremendous gains in Cyber Security, Ed Tech, Bio Tech, Financial Services.
As a community, we don't do a good enough job of promoting the positives that do exist... and every positive gets drowned out by the negatives.
We believe that if you grew up and/or live in the Baltimore Metro – Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Baltimore
County, Carroll, Harford, Howard – you are from Baltimore. If we as a whole want to rid the City of the social ills which damage all of us – whether you live in Canton, or Catonsville, or Ellicott City, or Bel Air, or Glen Burnie, or Westminster – it is going to take a group effort.
It should be clear to the Metro as a whole – we can no longer turn a blind eye towards the ills which have ravaged Baltimore City for too long.
Some Ideas For The Next 10 Years
1) Partner each Public City HS with a Manufacturing, Construction, or Cyber Security company. In each HS, there will be training centers for either skilled labor or coding.
Target Partners To Include:
Arnold Packaging, Arocon, Brothers Services Company, Charm City Builders, Clark Construction Group
Cole Roofing, CyberPoint International, Edgemont Builders, Gilbane Building, Harkins Builders, H&S Bakery, IntelliGenesis, Kinsley Construction, Len The Plumber, McCormick & Co., Merritt Construction, Northrop Grumman, Owings Brothers Contracting, Plano-Coudon Construction, Rocchi Construction, Stanley Black & Decker, St. John Properties, Southway Builders, Tegler Construction , Think|Stack, Walter Electric, Whiting-Turner, W.R. Grace & Co., ZeroFox
1a) The above companies gain the potential of developing future talent, but also should be provided with
additional incentives for participation.
1b) The commercial construction companies would be asked to do some renovation to each HS. Future City & State contracts awarded to companies who provide the school renovations.
1c) All students on track to graduate can participate at the respective HS Training Centers. Participating students ‘graduate’ with what would be labeled as Phase 1 Certifications.
1d) The above companies in partnership with Under Armour / Weller Development build a Phase 2 Tech Training Center at Port Covington. With Phase 2 Certification, those graduates become priority hires.
2) There are 16,500 abandoned houses in Baltimore.
2a) Tear down ½. (8,250)
2b) Renovate ½ (8,250). Housing tear down and reconstruction completed by Baltimore Metro residential
construction companies. Cost of that reconstruction fronted by Bank of America, Care First, COPT, Constellation, Howard Bank, John Hopkins Hospital, KELLY, Legg Mason, Lupin, McCormick, M&T Bank, Pandora, SC&H Group, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Stanley Black & Decker, T.Rowe Price, and Under Armour.
2c) One-half (4,125) of the renovated properties are sold, with the sponsoring companies being reimbursed via those sales.
2d) One-half (4,125) of the renovated properties are awarded to a percentage of the Phase 2 graduates. Other renovated houses are provided to Police, Fire, and Teachers. All awarded houses come with contingency that the Owner must utilize as their primary residence for X amount of years.
3) Bank of America, Care First, COPT, Constellation, Howard Bank, John Hopkins Hospital, KELLY, Legg Mason, Lupin, McCormick, M&T Bank, Pandora, SC&H Group, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Stanley Black & Decker, T.Rowe Price, Under Armour donate funding necessary for construction renovation of Baltimore’s 10 Police and 38 Fire Stations.
3a) Police and Fire Station renovations are completed by Baltimore Metro commercial construction companies.
4) Bank of America, Care First, COPT, Constellation, Howard Bank, John Hopkins Hospital, KELLY, Legg Mason, Lupin, McCormick, M&T Bank, Pandora, SC&H Group, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Stanley Black & Decker, T.Rowe Price, Under Armour, lead a dollar-to-dollar match with the Small Business Community and General Public for combating Blight, Bay Restoration / Waterfront Improvement, and Green City initiatives.
4a) Goal Totals are $200M towards Blight, $300M towards Bay Restoration / Waterfront Improvement, and $200M towards Green City initiatives.
4b) Small Business target partners… Fast 50, Accelerent, Insight ConneX, Pacesetters, etc.
5) Make immediate cosmetic improvements on the entrances into the City via I95, I83, Edmondson Avenue, US 40, etc. Utilize Architects (and Landscape Architects) like Design Collective, Hord Coplan Macht, Ayers Saint Gross, etc and Landscaping companies like Akehurst Landscape Service, and Ruppert Landscape. In the overall scheme of things, this is a lower priority; but these entries are the ‘front of the house’, and your first impressions. Give incentives for participation. Award future City & State contracts to the companies which participate.
Finalize plans for Convention Center expansion
. It seems clear this is going to require a combination of Private, City and State financing. Baltimore is now 80th (or higher) nationally in convention space, Baltimore is now missing out on numerous conventions, with similar sized markets taking more of their share, and without the ability to compete for the larger events.
7) A New Arena should go together with Convention Center expansion. In-conjunction with Convention Center expansion, it goes from a luxury, to more of a priority. If as a City (and State) you ultimately build a New Arena, you want a space that has the requisite amount of skyboxes, and total seats that it could ‘play up’ in time if there was eventually enough corporate dollars to go around to support a 3rd Major League team in Baltimore. Meaning just because Baltimore is not going to attract (or financially support) an NBA or NHL team in the immediate future; you should not build something from the beginning which would never be capable.
Ideally it would be 12,000 seats with the ability to easily increase capacity to roughly 18,500 if later need
demanded it. So, if it’s a given that the NBA and/or NHL would not be moving to Baltimore anytime soon, what outside of helping land larger conventions could a New Arena help with?
– Additional development in the surrounding area. Should be built in West Baltimore.
– Conference Tournaments: Big Ten, ACC, A10, CAA, MEAC…
– NCAA Regionals… hasn’t happened in over 20 years.
– NBA / NHL Regular season games. Ted Leonsis claims Baltimore. Some regular season Wizards, Capitals games
plausible with new Arena.
- College, High-School, AAU Showcases.
- Obviously all current events, with a consistently higher level of acts.
8) There must be Mass Transportation improvement. Not just within the City or Baltimore Metro; but with
Re-imagine Harborplace. The development needs to be high-end, more in-line with National Harbor
combination of innovative companies, and a ‘Restaurant Row.’ Go target emerging startups and creatives
(particularly restaurateurs) in the most expensive cities in the US to live, and give them financial incentives
(including space, capital, and tax cuts) to bring their operations to Baltimore. Some of their spaces could be in this ‘new’ Harborplace.
10) On a Monthly basis, there should be a meeting where the following parties attend:
- The Mayor of Baltimore, along with the County Executives of Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Harford County, Howard County, and one of the Carroll County Commissioners.
- The heads of the Greater Baltimore Committee, Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore, Baltimore Development Corporation, TEDCO, Maryland Tech Council, Visit Baltimore, ETC, WTCI.
- Care First, Constellation, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Legg Mason, McCormick, T.Rowe Price, and Under Armour.
- The goal being to bring these respective leaders together regularly to discuss advancement for the Baltimore Metro.
11) Ask Abel Communications, Ainsley & Co, Devaney & Associates, IMRE, JLM Strategic Communications, Kapowza, MGH, Nevins & Associates, Pink Dog Digital, Planit, R2integrated, Renegade Communications, Warschawski to come together to provide a collective PR and Advertising campaign. Where the expenses are shared, and their respective talents are utilized. Ultimately they need to be reimbursed for their efforts, ask is for them to help now.
11a) Rob Weinhold / Fallston Group should be asked chair the Reputation / Crisis Management messaging.
11b) Group message would acknowledge our weaknesses and tout the collective strength of the Region.
11c) There has to be consistent repeated messaging which touts the Metro's numbers of affluence. High Median Income. High Level of Post-College Grads. The growths in Cyber Security, BioTech, EdTech, Financial Services, etc.
As long as I'm on my soap-box, one item which I think has profound impact on Baltimore City proper and the Metro as a whole is that Baltimore and St. Louis are the only two major cities in the country not incorporated into the surrounding county, leaving the larger tax base outside of the City lines.
Since that conversation will not take place anytime soon, the conversations we do have, have to be focused on addressing what we can address. Correcting what we can correct.
Transformation can come to this City if we collectively agree to build together.
Let's build the City we want to have!