BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Walk downtown and you may notice something is out of place on the sidewalks near the Baltimore Convention Center.

As Mike Schuh reports, part of a plan to impress those going to a large convention backfired.

With attendance of 10,000, the Firehouse Expo has for 20 years filled the hotels and convention space in downtown Baltimore. But when they left this year about 10 stencils painted on the sidewalk were left behind.

“I’ve seen them for a long time,” said Ed Jantz, who works downtown. “I think they should pay to have them removed actually.”

The stencils surrounded the Baltimore Convention Center, and they’re across the street as far as the eye can see, or at least down to the Inner Harbor. They are a reminder in red of a five-day convention in July.

“Who’s responsible for the cleanup?” said Tony Barracato, who works downtown.

“The convention center should do something about it actually,” Jantz said.

It turns out Firehouse Expo didn’t put the stencils there.

“The stencils were actually put down by us as part of our welcome program,” said Sara Hisamoto, Visit Baltimore.

Put down by Baltimore to welcome the group to Baltimore.

It worked. The convention planner who brought the $10 million event here loved it. But the stencils were supposed to fade away on its own.

“It was supposed to wash away in 10-14 days, but obviously that didn’t happen, so we’ll have people out today cleaning that up,” Hisamoto said.

That will be done by the same crews that months earlier painted the town red with a bad batch of crimson purchased off the Internet.

“We probably will not be doing this again,” Hisamoto said. “Clearly the idea of the stenciling didn’t wash away like it should have. We want to be good partners with the community, and we don’t want our neighbors to be upset with things going on to welcome convention center attendees.”

Visit Baltimore says all of the remaining sidewalk stencils should be scrubbed clean by Tuesday.


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