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Old May 14th, 2007, 06:53 AM   #3561
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Originally Posted by MasonsInquiries View Post
i agree with both you and MtV. in terms of this city's growth, we're moving in the right direction if we get a 60-story tower or not. but i must admit that seeing one of those monsters in the skyline would be (sorry, WILL be) great.
I still think that ArcWheeler will build their 60 floor tower on Light Street.
My opinion is that we can't even blame the NIMBY strong hold for what has happened to 300 East Pratt Street. I think they mistakenly estimated the project cost. I am no developer but a project that size should at least cost 350 million.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 01:04 PM   #3562
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I agree

what would excite me more on 10 Inner Harbor and 300 East Pratt is if both got retail similar to Best Buy and Filenes. Whether both buildings are 50 or 60 stories will not have the impact as major retailers would to the city.


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In general, I'm very optimistic about this town. We had to make it to where we are without the built-in economy of DC AND with the DC economy sucking energy from us like a dual star system. Having grown in recent years in spite of DC getting most of the big stuff, Baltimore's growth is very real. I don't think very much will change if we do or don't get a 60 story building actually. It will be a relatively small piece of a picture that includes all of the neighborhoods like Canton, Fells Point Federal Hill, Mt Vernon, Charles Village, etc. That's were I see feet on the street, people in restaurants, shopping and that's the draw that might make somebody decide to drop a tall one somewhere around here. Do 250 condos make more of an impact when they are stacked up high? Maybe some additional impact, but it's not the thing that makes this city work, it's just a small part. In a day-to-day sense, I think having 2 good new supermarkets downtown is more telling and important than one big building.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 04:48 PM   #3563
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I would have to agree with this also. Many people don't realize that retail is the key. Extremely tall towers are nice too however. Brings alot of positive attention to the city.......any city.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 05:04 PM   #3564
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The chicken and the egg.

Does retail follow the population or does the population come with added servies/shops?

There are so many under/non utilized storefronts in the CBD and even the new construction in the west side seems to be soft. A good example is the stretch of new retail space directly across from the hippodrome. WHY is'nt there an afterhours cafe for the theater crowd?

I'm not sure what it's going to take to breath life into downtown retail. I'd love to see some sort of "buy local" campaign. I know it's tempting to drive outside the city to a bigbox retailer to save some money but I try to stay in the neighborhood for most purchases. I might be paying 10-15% more but I feel like that money gets recycled and reinvested close to home......well worth the premium.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 05:08 PM   #3565
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NASHVILLE
Chamber's trip to D.C., Baltimore brings ideas

Sunday, 05/13/07

At least once a year the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce packs its bags and hits the road to see how other major cities are handling their growing pains — to learn from others' mistakes and mimic their business successes. Usually, the trips play off something in the wind politically or economically in Music City.

This year's destination was Baltimore-Washington, D.C., two big cities that offer a lot of lessons for Nashville planners.

Baltimore has worked for 20 years or more to improve and maintain its harbor as a festival marketplace destination where citizens and visitors live, work and play.

Washington worked for nearly a decade on plans for a giant convention center to replace one that had made the nation's capital an also-ran for major conventions. Its new 2.3 million-square-foot Washington Convention Center opened in 2003.

What's that got to do with Nashville? A convention center plan is in the works for downtown, and plans are evolving (slowly) for new attractions along the Cumberland River. This year's fact-finding trip amounted to a sort of joint spring fling in which both the chamber and the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau recruited participants for a whirlwind three-day tour.

Local banker and chamber Vice Chairman Ron Samuels returned from the trip midweek and spoke with Tennessean Business Editor Randy McClain about what the group saw, and what it might mean for Nashville's future.

How many people went on the fact-finding trip this year?
It was 147, the largest group we've ever had go. We had 70 speakers and 25 sponsors. It was the first time that we've done a trip with the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Convention and Visitors Bureau groups together. This time we really had a focus on looking at best practices in other cities, looking at the challenges that city may have. And particularly Baltimore has similar challenges as Nashville. They have the great development of their harbor, and with all the interest in the riverfront in Nashville we wanted to take a look at how they had invested, what they've done with the harbor. It gives you a great visual of what the Cumberland River might be, how it could become more of an asset than it's been in the past.

Which industries were represented on the trip? What were the backgrounds of the participants from Nashville?
Educators, Metro Council members, the construction industry, a number of lawyers, bankers, architects, nonprofit executives, elected officials, mayoral candidates, Mayor Bill Purcell and Congressman (Jim) Cooper.

It was a three-day trip and it started at the Washington Convention Center, a 4-year-old building with 2.3 million square feet of total space.

How'd it look? And are there any lessons there for Nashville?
We got a good opportunity to see how Washington dealt with some of the same issues that we'll have to deal with when we build our planned convention center. Specifically, how it was integrated into the landscape and into the neighborhood, which was a real challenge for them. And how they kept the street grids in place.

What lessons did you take home about how to build a downtown convention center?
They did a great job with the use of art — both internal and external. It's something we're really interested in doing here. They had a fantastic street grid. They raised part of the center so that it had lots of light so you didn't feel like you're going through a tunnel or anything. It's very open. Aesthetically, it really fits the neighborhood. And they worked with the neighborhood and it became a big positive. It was in a very challenging neighborhood from a crime standpoint. They had retail shops nearby that literally had to do business behind bars, they used "gated" windows and in some cases the customers rang a buzzer to come inside.

Now, the neighborhood has changed dramatically. We saw that on our walking tour.
They did not have a hotel with their convention center. The closest rooms were four blocks away, which was not bad. They had 1,500 rooms within four blocks. Now, though, the Marriott has committed to a signature hotel there that will open in three years.

Did it give you confidence a new convention center can be pulled off here?
Very encouraged by what we saw. It was interesting to see. A lot of the center is underground. Yet, it blends perfectly with the landscape. And you have this wonderful building across the street, the Carnegie Library Building, which has been converted to a museum.

We saw a state-of-the-art convention center. We saw the flexibility they used in design. To give you a sense of the size and scope of this center, you could take the Washington Monument and lay two of them in there. You could put six football fields or four jumbo jets in there. They have 725,000 square feet of exhibit space. One-fifth of the center is underground. One thing I think we did learn is that retail will be a key to the success of our center. It's buying into everything that surrounds a center.

All five mayoral candidates who are running have said, "We see the value in the convention center." I think if you walked away from Washington, D.C., that afternoon I don't think there was any question in anybody's mind that we can build a world-class convention center here of a size that would allow us to market to 70 percent of what goes on out there. And have it be an integral part of the new look of our downtown.

It could be a beacon as a part of that … something that would be an architecturally recognized center. Going through the center in Washington you could feel the energy in that building. It was a lot of glass. It was open, huge spaces. It just gave you a sense of pride.

What did you see in Baltimore?
We began bright and early Monday at 6:15 a.m. with a walking tour of some of the buildings downtown that were interesting architecturally, and we saw how they protected the views of the harbor there over the last 25 years. … We had a chance to take water taxis and go back and forth on the harbor. You can eat up and down the harbor.

They have wonderful views. The NFL Ravens stadium in on one side and west of that area, I believe, is Camden Yards, a beautiful revitalization of an area that had really fallen on hard times. They've got a great Major League Baseball stadium there.

What about paying for all this revitalization? How much does government share in the costs?
One of the key "learnings" we gained on the trip is that there is a significant attitude difference in the way state, local and private (money) is used there. Most every project they have, the state contributes a third, the local contributes a third and then private money is a third. So, you've got the ability to do significant efforts. They did a $65 million addition to their aquarium. I asked about funding on that. And a third of it the state contributed, a third the local government contributed and private investment took care of the rest. They issue general obligation bonds, about $120 million in bonds a year, which gives them the ability to do a lot of things like this.

We also spent a lot of time in Baltimore on education. The deputy mayor spoke on Tuesday morning and talked about a lot of the programs they had working to achieve high school reform. It made you really appreciate Nashville, even with all the challenges we have in education. It's nothing like the challenges there. They have a big problem with dropouts, particularly among the African-American population after the ninth grade.

They've worked on some very creative charter school programs that we got a good chance to look at. They have one program that many of us were interested in called: Living Classroom Foundation. It basically was a charter school that takes a student from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and fills that day up.

They had a slogan: "Believe in our schools." You've got a student population there in 193 schools; we have 133. They have a total enrollment of 82,381 students; we have 74,155 students. Per pupil expenditures: Nashville is $9,239. They're $13,041.

Is the Chamber interested in promoting the all-day school concept you saw?
That and following what the achievement results might be coming out of that. They also have what they called Power Sharing Partnerships. It's partnering with businesses and mentor programs where businesses would allow students to come and be mentored by a businessperson or work as an intern in a company. We do a lot of this. They just seem to have a little bit more formalization of the process. It's something you'd want to explore.

Did the subject of sports teams and their importance come up?
Their local government talked about their sports franchises and how important those were to the city, the dramatic loss of the Colts years ago and how hard they worked to get a Ravens franchise back there. There was just a difference in how they thought. They said: If we can invest in facilities that create revenue streams … they had a tendency to kind of track sales tax and property tax revenues off of that and compare that to the investment. What you'd hear them say lots of times was "return on investment substantial."

The state funded for the most part the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture downtown within walking distance of the harbor.

It sounds like one thing you took away from the trip is the importance of government-private partnerships. Do you find city and state government here too reluctant to put money up?
I think I took away something that said: We need to explore how we partner on a state, local, private level. Here, you see things … driven much more on a private level with some small (government) contribution.

(In Baltimore), they seem to see venues, museums, stadiums, aquariums … they look at that as an investment that creates revenue that gets spun back into neighborhoods. We tend to look at that as a cost that causes us not to do something else. Not saying that we're too cautious or conservative here. It just makes you take a step back and take a look. That's the value of these trips. You see how others do things.

So, in Baltimore you saw a very vibrant riverfront, among other things. How far ahead of Nashville are they on using their waterfront to great advantage?
Oh, they're a good 10 years ahead of where we are.
I think when we went up to their World Trade Center there in Baltimore … it overlooks the harbor. They've got great views. When we left and came out of that building and walked along the harbor, and we saw, you couldn't help but think about the opportunity Nashville has.

The sense I took away was, yes, you can see the riverfront playing a much more substantial role in Nashville's future business environment. And that would mean both sides of the riverfront, and the ability to use water taxis. The ability to have building heights restricted so you can continue to see the river from different places. Certainly, it stimulated a lot of conversation among our group.

Everything is just blending so well there. Even some of the new brick buildings look old and fit the landscape. So, they've taken great pride in protecting that waterfront and its visual attractiveness. I was very impressed with what Baltimore has done.

What would you like to see happen now on the Thermal site downtown in Nashville? Is a riverfront ballpark still a possibility?
My preference … after we spent all the time that various committees did looking at what was the best use for that site. If you would see what the downtown ballparks in Louis ville, Memphis or any of these Triple A new ballparks have done for retail and for living and for commercial.

Best use in my opinion is to get a ballpark there that can handle a Triple A team and maybe expand to major leagues 10 years from now when the city can really afford it and has grown to that size. It drives people. We become a year-round city at that point.

The idea of strolling from the Roundabout down the Avenue of the Arts or Demonbreun now to the riverfront … we look at that as a long walk. It's just a mile. If you think about all the entertainment venues that could be there in the future … we could do that. It takes some investment and creative thinking on the part of state and local. We're a capital city. We ought to look like that.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 05:22 PM   #3566
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Originally Posted by southbalto View Post
The chicken and the egg.

Does retail follow the population or does the population come with added servies/shops?
Developers say "retail follows rooftops."
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Old May 14th, 2007, 06:34 PM   #3567
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It must be said...

While this is sorta development related...

I can't help but to have a somewhat weird feeling in hearing all the talk of all the good things going on in the city. However things are pretty much limited to areas that encompass about 5% of the total space in town. The Filene's, Best Buy, Ruth Cris, The Wine Market etc,. are all great and dandy. But I always get a weird feeling when people talk about how great the city is doing.

Have many folks here ever set foot outside of Mt Vernon, Fells Point, Fed Hill, the CBD et al? I mean the development in these areas is fantastic. Its exciting. It fresh and its needed. But the reality is, the overwhelming majority of City dwellers couldn't care any less about 10IH, 300 E Pratt, the Cordish building and the like. My town is hurting. I mean HURTING.

Last week. Whitelock and McCulloh. A car pulls up around 5 in the evening. IN BROAD DAYLIGHT. A guy gets out of the passenger seat with a ski mask on. Pulls out a AK47 and lights up the corner. People scatter. I was right behind the shooters car. This is becoming more and more of an issue.

I just am afriad that the City is getting divided more than it already is. We already have had two Cities within. I don't want to call it a white Bmore and a black Bmore cause thats oversimplifying things too much but you get the point. I cringe at the thought of the City becoming more and more segragated like a Boston or a Chicago. Its just hard to think thats not where we are going when I keep hearing how great things are for some folks. While others live in conditions that are only worsening.

I just hope all this 'development' finds a way to benefit the 'real city.'

End of rant...

God that was depressing.

Anyway, back to talking about condo's and boutique hotels.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 06:44 PM   #3568
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^Well, remember, the JHH and UMB biotech parks are taking in those areas and it sure looks like Old West Baltimore is starting an upswing. The gun problems are VERY real problems, but we're not just stuck talking development in the same old places (well, I'm not anyway!). I don't think the City will become more segregated, I think the problems will disperse throughout the metropolis with some new areas OUTSIDE the City, unfortunately creating bastions of despair. No matter what we do, it's going (and has been) a long, hard slog to repair decades of damage.

Nate
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Old May 14th, 2007, 06:50 PM   #3569
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Originally Posted by cgunna View Post
Last week. Whitelock and McCulloh. A car pulls up around 5 in the evening. IN BROAD DAYLIGHT. A guy gets out of the passenger seat with a ski mask on. Pulls out a AK47 and lights up the corner. People scatter. I was right behind the shooters car. This is becoming more and more of an issue.
Oh my god!!! Oh my goodness!! I'm sorry that you had to witness that kind of crazy act of violence.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 06:52 PM   #3570
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And your solution is? Should we just let the parts of the city that have been reclaimed become like the areas that haven't? I don't think that only 5% of the city has good things happening to it. I submit that about 60% of the city is quite nice. It's relatively safe, walkable, and for the most part not a slum. it is also populated with caring people. It's the other 40% that is bad.

I lived in Reservoir Hill from 1979 until 1989 near Madison Avenue and Whitelock Street. Believe me when I say, I am familiar with crime in that area. I was the 2nd white person to move onto the 2500 block of Madison in 35 years. I purchased an abandoned house that was a slum and renovated it.

I got no thanks. In fact, all I got was trouble. The renters accused me of “Gentrifying” the area. They would rather have had an abandoned house on their block then a white person there who fixed it up. Never mind that the area was a stable upper/middle class white neighborhood from 1870 until the 1950's when it became predominately black and a slum.

I hope you got the tag number of the shooter's car and reported it to the police. That is the only way crime will stop. Residents need to get involved and go to court and convict the people who do things like this.

I saw someone break into a car on Biddle Street. I called the police, followed him, and went to court 3 times (postponements) to get him convicted. But he got convicted and that is what counts. (It was a Judge’s car he broke into BTW and his "rap" sheet was 8 pages long!)

Last edited by 30 Floors Up; May 14th, 2007 at 07:17 PM.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 06:53 PM   #3571
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Quote:
Originally Posted by getontrac View Post
^Well, remember, the JHH and UMB biotech parks are taking in those areas and it sure looks like Old West Baltimore is starting an upswing. The gun problems are VERY real problems, but we're not just stuck talking development in the same old places (well, I'm not anyway!). I don't think the City will become more segregated, I think the problems will disperse throughout the metropolis with some new areas OUTSIDE the City, unfortunately creating bastions of despair. No matter what we do, it's going (and has been) a long, hard slog to repair decades of damage.

Nate
Yes, I also agree with this Nate. I don't believe thaqt this city is becoming segregated. I think the problem with guns will spread past city lines to other areas.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 07:00 PM   #3572
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Mercy Tower

Okay.....

So still no renderings of the new Mercy Tower!?!?!?! They can't just start building something that nobody knows what it will be!

The Davis St garage is almost done. Can't wait until the wrecking ball begins on Calvert.

Nate
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Old May 14th, 2007, 07:10 PM   #3573
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And your solution is? Should we just let the parts of the city that have been reclaimed become like the areas that haven't?

I lived in Reservoir Hill from 1979 until 1989 near Madison Avenue and Whitelock Street. I was the 2nd white person to move onto the 2500 block of Madison in 35 years. I purchased an abandoned house that was a slum and renovated it.

I got no thanks. In fact, all I got was trouble. The renters accused me of “Gentrifying” the area. They would rather have had an abandoned house on their block then a white person there who fixed it up. Never mind that the area was a stable upper/middle class white neighborhood from 1870 until the 1950's when it became predominately black and a slum.

I hope you got the tag number of the shooter's car and reported it to the police. That is the only way crime will stop. Residents need to get involved and go to court and convict the people who do things like this. I saw someone break into a car on Biddle Street. I called the police, followed him, and went to court 3 times to get him convicted. But he got convicted and that is what counts. (It was a Judge’s car he broke into BTW and his "rap" sheet was 8 pages long!)
I think certain segregated areas are different from others in terms of the response you'd get. It may depend on the housing stock and whether there is a majority of renters or homeowners.

But, you're right, you've got to be vigilent and follow-up on crimes and courts. Too many people have become apathetic and it lets too many people needlessly off the hook who deserve some real jail time. If your neighborhood gets tenacious about following up, it can make a real difference. I know Mt. Vernon has noted success here.

Nate
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Old May 14th, 2007, 07:17 PM   #3574
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I just hope all this 'development' finds a way to benefit the 'real city.'

End of rant...

God that was depressing.

Anyway, back to talking about condo's and boutique hotels.
Undoubtedly, a miserable situation that would provoke a rant from the most hardened person.

Volunteered years ago at St. Charles Hall in Johnston Square. Nuns were working miracles with the kids who lived near the jail. Used to work next to the old Flag House Courts housing project at Pratt and Albemarle. A tough place, but there were a lot of great people living there. Was invited to a "sweet sixteen" party for one of the kids. An absolute blast: a more upbeat group you couldn't find. Gave a talk on behalf of Catholic Relief Services at St. Bernardines on Edmondson. Again, amazing people. When I get down on the town, I think of these folks.

P.S. Downtown development pays a lot of bills through property taxes. Has for more than a century. I don't feel bad rooting for more of it.

P.P.S. Don't mean to be flip (and I'm glad you're okay), but you could have been describing rural Blacksburg, VA a couple weeks ago.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 07:29 PM   #3575
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I think certain segregated areas are different from others in terms of the response you'd get. It may depend on the housing stock and whether there is a majority of renters or homeowners.

But, you're right, you've got to be vigilent and follow-up on crimes and courts. Too many people have become apathetic and it lets too many people needlessly off the hook who deserve some real jail time. If your neighborhood gets tenacious about following up, it can make a real difference. I know Mt. Vernon has noted success here.

Nate
I don't think that most of the city is segregated these days. For that matter, neither are the burbs. I ride the Marc trains to and from work, and the riders who get on and off at ALL the stops are quite a mixed bag. I think people will be surprised when the next census figures are published in 2012 or so.

The difference between a good neighborhood and a bad one is the amount of involvement the residents have in making the neighborhood good. High drug dealing neighborhoods are that way because most (but not all) of the people who live in them are willing to tolerate the dealing. If they didn't tollerate it, and called the police EVERY TIME they see it happening, the dealers would move some place else.

I assure you that when AK47's are involved, it is drug related. All we can do is collectively work together to make things better. In short, it's all a matter of shared values.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 07:35 PM   #3576
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I had to entertain a group of the Nashville Businessmen that visited Baltimore last week. It was a group of bankers,developers and architects. I took them on the Harbor taxi and we went and ate massive amounts of crab cakes and oysters.
They bombarded me with questions about Baltimore development and the school system. Somsebody was filling their heads with negative stuff so I had to offer a balance. They were also asking a lot of questions about crime. They all stayed at the Rennisannce and I guess one guy went for a late night walk and walked past the Block.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 08:18 PM   #3577
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Originally Posted by DemolitionDave View Post
I had to entertain a group of the Nashville Businessmen that visited Baltimore last week. It was a group of bankers,developers and architects. I took them on the Harbor taxi and we went and ate massive amounts of crab cakes and oysters.
They bombarded me with questions about Baltimore development and the school system. Somsebody was filling their heads with negative stuff so I had to offer a balance. They were also asking a lot of questions about crime. They all stayed at the Rennisannce and I guess one guy went for a late night walk and walked past the Block.
Having "The Block" located where is is is an embarassment to the city. That kind of stuff needs to be pushed out. You can't have strip clubs in the cbd. I have no moral issue with strip clubs, I just don't think they should be in the near center of the city.

I have often wondered about the condo project right next to the block, those must be a tough sell. Why live there when you can go to Harbor East and feel safe walking around at night.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 08:42 PM   #3578
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Re read the post...

Quote:
Originally Posted by 30 Floors Up View Post
And your solution is? Should we just let the parts of the city that have been reclaimed become like the areas that haven't? I don't think that only 5% of the city has good things happening to it. I submit that about 60% of the city is quite nice. It's relatively safe, walkable, and for the most part not a slum. it is also populated with caring people. It's the other 40% that is bad.

I lived in Reservoir Hill from 1979 until 1989 near Madison Avenue and Whitelock Street. Believe me when I say, I am familiar with crime in that area. I was the 2nd white person to move onto the 2500 block of Madison in 35 years. I purchased an abandoned house that was a slum and renovated it.

I got no thanks. In fact, all I got was trouble. The renters accused me of “Gentrifying” the area. They would rather have had an abandoned house on their block then a white person there who fixed it up. Never mind that the area was a stable upper/middle class white neighborhood from 1870 until the 1950's when it became predominately black and a slum.

I hope you got the tag number of the shooter's car and reported it to the police. That is the only way crime will stop. Residents need to get involved and go to court and convict the people who do things like this.

I saw someone break into a car on Biddle Street. I called the police, followed him, and went to court 3 times (postponements) to get him convicted. But he got convicted and that is what counts. (It was a Judge’s car he broke into BTW and his "rap" sheet was 8 pages long!)
Before you start off a post with "And your solution is...."

I wasn't asking you or anybody else for a solution. I was merely ranting on what was on my mind.

Also, I'm not sure if you've ever been 30 feet from a blazing AK47/street sweeper/block burner/choppa etc,. Next time there is a shoot out with a Russian assult rifle, I've give you a call so you can jot down the tag number of the vehicle which I am sure will be properly registered and licensed to the legal owner. I, like most normal folks would, hit the ground. Forgive me for not being a super citizen as yourself.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 08:49 PM   #3579
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Originally Posted by jamie_hunt View Post

P.S. Downtown development pays a lot of bills through property taxes. Has for more than a century. I don't feel bad rooting for more of it.

P.P.S. Don't mean to be flip (and I'm glad you're okay), but you could have been describing rural Blacksburg, VA a couple weeks ago.
I totally agree that downtown development pays a lot of bills. For that reason, amongst a whole host of others, I root for it to continue.


Not really sure as the point of bringing in VA Tech to this....

AK47 on the streets of Baltimore: not surprising.

VA Tech shooting: The most violent shooting of its kind in US History.

not exactly apples to apples?
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Old May 14th, 2007, 08:53 PM   #3580
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Having "The Block" located where is is is an embarassment to the city. That kind of stuff needs to be pushed out. You can't have strip clubs in the cbd. I have no moral issue with strip clubs, I just don't think they should be in the near center of the city.

I have often wondered about the condo project right next to the block, those must be a tough sell. Why live there when you can go to Harbor East and feel safe walking around at night.
The alternative to the cbd is either industrial parks or neighborhoods. Neither want the clubs. Having The Block next to the po-leece department is probably as good as it gets. Haven't checked the crime stats recently, but The Block used to be fairly safe. Lots of big, burly "eyes on the street" (not the kind Jane Jacobs might have preferred, but there nonetheless.) Never shoulda torn down Polock Johnny's. Wasn't the same after it moved, then became Crazy Johns.
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