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Baltimore residents give feedback on legislation aimed at Harborplace redevelopment

Baltimore residents give feedback on legislation aimed at Harborplace redevelopment
Baltimore residents give feedback on legislation aimed at Harborplace redevelopment 02:57

BALTIMORE - The future of Harborplace is one step closer to getting a facelift. 

Baltimore City's Planning Commission unanimously approved three bills that may act as building blocks for the redevelopment. 

RELATED: City leaders, developers discuss vision for a renewed Harborplace

The project design calls for the waterfront area to transform into a space for shopping, dining and living. 

Those bills with impacts on Harborplace will now be considered by the Baltimore City Council in early 2024.

Like any other piece of legislation, these bills will go through a months-long process of public review, hearings and debates.

Once the crown jewel of downtown Baltimore, the iconic waterfront space is set for a makeover. 

"We have to act with a sense of urgency with our children in mind and our next generation in mind, because this is ultimately what we're going to leave with them," Baltimore City Councilman Eric Costello said. "That said, we cannot compromise community engagement and input from the public."

For hours on Thursday, residents from every corner of the Baltimore came to share their feedback on the legislation. 

The three council bills include amendments to zoning, an urban renewal plan and the city's charter -- efforts to pave the way for the construction of a luxury residential, retail and commercial space, plus a redesigned streetscape plan at Pratt and Light streets. 

The cost of the private development at Harborplace could climb to $500 million.

"I strongly urge that this be tabled and get back to the table to do their homework, do it in detail, do it as fast as possible," Baltimore resident Jim Prost said. "And make sure we have a project we all can be proud of and will be the homerun Harborplace was for 25 years."

"When you put a car in a field and leave it there, it rusts away and that is what has happened to downtown Inner Harbor," added Baltimore resident Rose Backus. "And we need to revitalize that area so that everyone will once again want to feel apart of it."

With several steps in between, ultimately, the power will be put in the hands of Baltimore City voters to approve an amendment to the city charter through a November 2024 ballot question.

"The residents and the voters are going to have the final say on this, and that's really important," said Eric Stephenson, on the Baltimore City Planning Commission. "And this year, being a presidential and mayoral election year, that means we're going to have the most voters out at the polling locations, so I think that is another reason for us to push this forward to make sure that the most voters have a say on it."

Councilman Costello said there will be many more public engagement forums to come in the new year, including one in January with a yet-to-be-determined date, to help inform people about the project.

Related Coverage:

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