MOU and Harborplace: Governor Moore’s rocky rookie year

In Governor Wes Moore’s first year, he is batting 0 for 2 on public lands in Baltimore City. With Harborplace and the Orioles’ MOU, our Governor is squarely behind two projects that benefit the few(and wealthy) at the expense of the public.

The legislated $600 million was not enough for the billionaire owner of the Orioles who lobbied the new governor directly after toying with the Maryland Stadium Authority for years. That’s not negotiating in good faith.  The lease that never was became the MOU that appears to be economically unsound for taxpayers.

It was a mistake for Governor Moore to get involved in the process which undermined the MSA, the agency responsible for negotiating stadium leases. Our rookie governor got played by the billionaire who gave $6000 to the governor’s campaign.

Harborplace is an idea that the harbor is a sacred public space for the people to enjoy the harbor. High-rises and Harborplace are incompatible yet Governor Moore(and Mayor Scott) fully supported the new design before the public got a look at the project. The new design is a major disconnect between our governor and the people.

The park is in the wrong place and is derived mainly from land reclaimed from the street corner. The developer squeezed the park in between tall buildings and away from the water on land that is currently on Pratt Street. Look at the plans for Harborplace before and after. Who wants to go to a park at Harborplace that is not by the water?

That 3.2-acre lot at Harborplace is public land and it should remain as a park by the water and open so people can enjoy the views. Cram more high-rises in Harbor East if one must, but leave Harborplace as mainly parkland. The governor has mistakenly chosen to support the high-rise development of the property.

The MOU with the Orioles and the plans for Harborplace do not need to be discussed or scrutinized further. Both plans need to be scrapped because both are bad deals for the public. Both plans do not benefit the public yet both are profit-making developments on public land.

The Governor should pivot on both properties and change his tack. He needs to let the MSA do their job without(his) interference and he should support Harborplace as a sacred public park for all the citizens to enjoy.