Commentary: A Baltimore Birthday
(BALTIMORE - August 29, 2012) - For the second year in a row, Baltimore will host the international racing phenomenon known as the Grand Prix here in the cityduring my birthday weekend.
According to the official website,
The 2012 Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT brings three days of 180 mph excitement to the heart of Baltimore on Labor Day weekend. See the stars and cars of the IndyCar Series on a 12-turn course that snakes through the heart of downtown Baltimore and along the Inner Harbor. More than 100,000 spectators enjoyed the 2011 event, and the 2012 Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT will be bigger and better.
This sounds nice, but admittedly, I wasn’t for it at first. From my point of view, this race just represented yet another entry into the long history of our City’s decision-makers perpetuating the dilapidating trend of pouring money into downtown instead of other struggling parts of the city.
In the past 30 years, Baltimore has seen a surge of development downtown. Most notably
- Inner Harbor attractions (the Aquarium, the IMAX),
- the new hotels,
- Camden Yards,
- the Ravens Stadium and
- Harbor East, just to name a few.
Many of these projects have been a financial windfall for the city, increasing our profile among other great cities in the nation. However, this has often come at the expense of other sections of the city, which do not benefit from this ‘windfall’ although they are in dire need of those dollars (not to mention some good ole-fashioned TLC).
However, the financial expenditures have already been made, the contracts have been signed, the dates have been booked, and the drivers & equipment have already begun to make their mark on our city once again.Let’s be clear on this one thing: Baltimore could greatly benefit from the potential boon associated with such a high profile event. Thus, in the spirit of togetherness, goodwill, progress &optimism, I hope this event ultimately is a huge success.
So, My View:
I encourage you. Go downtown this weekend. Take the bus, endure the traffic, buy some food, bring your family (here’s some tips) and let’s Celebrate this event and what our city is rightfully becoming: A world-class locale with a beautiful reputation and top-notch attractions.
Meet me there & go check it out!
I look forward to hearing from you.
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Rodney C. Burris
State Central Committee, 43rd
Proud parent of Baltimore City School students