Now in Fell’s Point: the folks zooming around on Segways, in their yellow vests and helmets.
Fell’s Point Main Street kicked off its medallion program, which essentially extends the services of the Waterfront Partnership to Fell’s Point, last Thursday. Waterfront Partnership staff will be incorporating the 1600 and 1700 blocks of Thames St. and the 700 and 800 blocks of S. Broadway into their patrols.
“We hope to expand quickly,” said Fell’s Point Main Street executive director Joy Giordano.
Currently, the program is roughly a $150,000, revenue-based venture, financed by participating businesses. Giordano said that about 80 percent of the businesses in the service area are participating. Participants receive gold-colored medallions to display on their buildings.
“We’re really excited about the commitment from our businesses,” said Giordano.
At last Thursdays opening ceremony, Fell’s Point Main Street president Michael Maraziti, also owner of One-Eyed Mike’s, said that the Waterfront Partnership would be cleaning up trash, removing graffiti and stickers and reporting maintenance issues such as burned-out street lamps. In past meetings, it was said that Waterfront Partnership personnel would also deal with vagrants and panhandlers and administer first aid.
“You’re going to see improvement on a daily basis,” Maraziti said, sweating in a navy blazer in the 90-plus heat. “I’m so excited for Fell’s Point that I’m about to bust.”
Maraziti also touted the fact that Fell’s Point is “the first neighborhood in the city to come up with private financing to start this partnership with the Waterfront Partnership.”
Michael Hankin, chair of the Waterfront Partnership, noted that up to now, the organization had serviced the area from the Bond Street Wharf to the Rusty Scupper restaurant.
“I really challenge you to find a piece of trash or to find graffiti,” he said. “What you will find is someone to help you get some Italian food or find a good slice of pizza.”
Hankin said that his own company, Brown Advisory, would be contributing toward the new services in Fell’s Point.
He told the audience that the expansion could bring more business interest to Fell’s Point.
“I think what you’re going to see is that the businesses that were tilting westward will return to the area,” Hankin said.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake congratulated Fell’s Point on implementing the program.
“In Baltimore, we know you have to build on a solid and strong foundation, and Fell’s Point is a rock,” she said.
First District Councilman James Kraft thanked the mayor for her support, noting that without the leadership to make things happen, big ideas are never implemented.
“Someday we’re going to be partners with the Waterfront Partnership,” Kraft mused. “Ladies and gentlemen, that day has come.”
by Erik Zygmont