BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Major changes are expected for a swathe of land on the Inner Harbor that is one of Baltimore’s best known locations.
McKeldin Square, named after former Baltimore Mayor and Maryland Gov. Theodore McKeldin, lies at the corner of Pratt and Light streets.
As WJZ’s Ron Matz reports, plans are moving ahead to give a makeover to the square, which serves as a gateway to the Inner Harbor.
The plan calls for the removal of the aging fountain there and the demolition of two skywalks. They will be replaced by trees and more green space to provide a better view and enhance the natural beauty of the area.
Kirby Fowler, president of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, told WJZ the plaza’s namesake, McKeldin, was one of the first to take notice of the area’s potential.
“He was actually one of the key people who looked at the Inner Harbor and thought this could be something better than just an aging port,” said Fowler.
But, Fowler said, the fountain was only functional part of the year even during the best of times, and often it would break down.
“We’ll be tearing the fountain down and replacing it with a new grass feature and trees… I know it will connect downtown better to the harbor,” he said. “…It will be like a curtain’s been raised. Once it comes down, you’ll be able to see views in and out.”
Funding for the face lift will come from a combination of private and public sources, Fowler told WJZ. “We’re got about $4 million raised and we’ll continue to raise money,” he said.
Residents echoed Fowler’s thoughts.
Burrell Kilmer, who works downtown, said the square is primarily geared toward pedestrian traffic so making it over would be a positive. “You want to show it well.”
Chastity White of Federal Hill said those visiting the city they might be surprised not to find the fountain. “It’s been part of the harbor landscape, but anything to beautify Baltimore, I’m for that.”