Charles St has had the most attention, but it still needs more, like
most other streets with more enforcement of housing/building codes.
As I've said before, too many solutions are not directed at the real
problem. The problem is that there is not enough of an economy. A
strong local economy would fix almost ALL problems that we ponder on
boards like this.
There simply isn't enough business going on in Baltimore to fix up all
the neglected properties AND build new ones. I'm certain that crime,
or perception of crime is what keeps new businesses from elsewhere
from setting up shop or expanding with a regional branch.
(Nevertheless, I believe crime is down at reason #3 for the reason why
regionals don't move to the City, after property taxes and schools.)
The GBC and like must concentrate on the economic backbone of the City
first--like the Port and the Howard St. Tunnel replacement--and bring
new tax-paying businesses into town, instead of slots and their
obsolete Red Line. The whole tourism market is tapped out, too. No
surprise those unfinished hotels are up for auction.
With regard to Mt. Vernon, they rightfully want to maintain some sense
of consistent scale in the neighborhood, esp. on Charles St. You can
see what high-rise development has done to certain parts of North
Chicago. The neighborhoods aren't bad there, but the results have
certainly damaged the integrity of some sections.
IIRC, the limit for most of Mt. Vernon was proposed to be 100 feet,
but there are density bonuses that in some areas could allow building
up to 180'. I hate the Gould lots as much as anyone, as I live next to
the Charles/Eager one (the worst). But Gould's argument is perfectly
sound and reasonable, esp. given the crappy economy which I doubt will
fade anytime soon.
We can only build so much before the reality that JOBS are needed for
people to fill the apartments. Places far uglier (or blander) than
Baltimore generate jobs and aren't pedestrian friendly or have any
nice urban fabric, so the fabric isn't required to get people to a
city. Bad design in Balto. makes life worse, but good won't
necessarily generate plentiful new activity (sections of Fells Point
are about as good as you can get for walking and still have vacanies.)
My proposal here, short of us attempting to attract new businesses
ourselves, would be to
--work to improve public safety through community involvement and
--make the public/government aware of the importance of our economic
backbone: the Port and rail connections
--ensure infrastructure rehabs and rebuilds are designed to improve
urban fabric as well as performance; reduce deferred maintenance
--have long term comprehensive regional planning (with long term
outlook on capital transit constructions, building incrementally)
--have a well-operated transit system with strongly integrated bus
Note that my recommendations don't really require gobs of extra money
we wouldn't otherwise spend anyway....