Just when we thought the Inner Harbor was fine and not to be tampered with, here comes the renovations. I saw it coming as crime sky-rocketed and there were fewer activities for the children to do around the city. I’ve worked in the Inner harbor area for a few years and I have slowly watched it changed. It went from a place where everyone in the city came to meet, eat, and shop, to a place that tourists create an illusion that this is what Baltimore looks like all over. The divide between the urban areas and tourist attractions of Baltimore has been growing since I was a child. The “higher up” fight to keep their money in by doing their best to keep those two from touching each other. A little birdie we like to call, Gentrification. I’ve lived in central Baltimore long enough to watch it evolve. Urban neighborhoods, mine included, are slowly becoming occupied by the college students as the University of Maryland’s campus continues to expand.
Back to the matter at hand, I’ve noticed how different areas of the Inner Harbor that are usually filled with businesses and consumers have depleted tremendously. For example, the galleria that sits on the corner of W. Pratt St. and Calvert st., since I’ve worked there the rent was raised and many of the businesses have moved out. The food court is gone and when I asked the reason for this drastic change I was told that this was done to keep the children from coming down there and, basically, scaring away money. The pavilions at the Inner Harbor have gone to shit. Most of the businesses are gone so all that is left are empty spaces. Little did I know this was all part of a bigger plan.
Beginning this fall, renovations will be made to the entire area. Meanwhile, we have homes in West Baltimore collapsing as we speak. Beyond Martin Luther King Boulevard is a different story. As much as they try to change the narrative by attempting to cover up the poverty with luxury apartments and nice parks, they can not hide the nitty gritty. They cannot hide the crime, the rats, the roaches and the homeless. Do we really need Harbor renovations? Isn’t the Harbor beautiful enough?