Convention Center expansion isn't what Baltimore needs

Here is a modest proposal to Greater Baltimore Committee head Don Fry and other representatives of big business in Baltimore:

If you really care about the residents of Baltimore and the long-term future of our city, you will not support throwing millions of taxpayer dollars at big developers to build a new convention center and arena and make the Inner Harbor even more of a playground for tourists.

Instead, the business community would make its first priority the immediate rehabilitation or demolition of the tens of thousands of vacant properties in this city. Other than the Inner Harbor, too much of Baltimore looks like a bombed-out war zone. This is a disgrace for any city worthy of its name and its people.

In Mr. Fry's op-ed article "Building for the future" (June 14) he labels anyone concerned about these issues as "naysayers." If he were to step back from his lifelong business bias, perhaps he would understand that this is a question of values — human values — regarding the reasons cities exist and for whose benefit.

Those who refuse to examine this question are the real naysayers about the future of Baltimore and its residents.

Art Cohen

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