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Friday, June 05, 2015

Baltimore streets reflect pessimism but this wasn't always the case

As a native Baltimorean, the pictures of my home city now devoid of aesthetic life just makes me crazy. I grew up in neighborhoods with white marble steps and cement side walks, but the neighbors kept the streets clean and everybody's back yard had a rose bush growing next to the trash cans. 

We took pride in our neighborhoods.

Today, the Baltimore I knew is often pictured as devoid of trees or natural life. Crime tape is pictured in many media images. 

People forgot that Baltimore is the location of beautiful Paterson Park and Druid Hill Park Zoo. In fact, Baltimore County is where the lovely Loch Raven Reservoir is located, the reservoir that provides drinking water for the City of Baltimore and most of Baltimore County. 

Lovely Loch Raven Reservoir provides water to Baltimore City

Baltimore is the site of some lovely architecture including the first monument built to honor President George Washington. 
George Washington Monument and fountain in Baltimore City

Although fixing the social, crime and policing problems in Baltimore will take a complex solution, my suggestion about moving forward is to start at the very beginning.  

Baltimoreans must begin their essential rebuilding by cleaning up their neighborhoods. Take back the pride I know was evident throughout the city. Please plant flowers in window boxes! Take the dozens of empty liqueur bottles out of the storm drains. Call for frequent municipal trash pick up. Wash graffiti off of all streets and buildings. Most important, put farmers markets in the place of at least 25 percent of the liqueur stores. These actions are not pie in the sky liberal idealism. Dear blog readers, I've personally grown up in Baltimore where we took pride in growing trees! My father enjoyed driving our family to visit Loch Raven Reservoir because he wanted to discuss the water treatment technology with us. Maryland has one of the oldest farmers markets in the US. 

Unfortunately, illegal drugs, prostitution and plenty of horrible guns have destroyed Baltimore's pride. Nevertheless, with community engagement, the pride can be restored. Frankly, I'm convinced that Baltimore pride is waiting to be uncovered like an archaeological discovery.

So, while Maryland's governor is puffed up about reducing the tolls on the state's bridges, he could be taking action to increase awareness about cleaning up Baltimore.

Tragically, there aren't many people who want to walk around Baltimore with a trash bag and a pail of soap water. But, that's what the City of Baltimore needs, especially now.

Surely, Baltimore's spiral into pessimism can be reversed. Leadership is needed to get the process going. Unfortunately, Maryland's Governor Hogan just isn't up to the task. It's likely beneath  the high minded Governor to pick up trash on behalf of demonstrating leadership. Maybe, a Sierra Club investment would help to educate the inner city residents to plant trees and flowers?  

Or, maybe a team of archaeologists from Egypt can obtain a research grant for the purpose of uncovering Baltimore's pride again. Surely solutions are there, but somebody must lead the efforts. Otherwise, pessimism will erode Baltimore pride beyond recognition.

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