Downtown Partnership Invites Public Tonight to Discuss Plaza at Pratt and Light

| June 12, 2014 | 0 Comments

Downtown Partnership of Baltimore Release:

DowntownPLANNING A BETTER PRATT STREET
Downtown Partnership Invites Public to Discuss Ways to Improve a Prominent Block at the Inner Harbor

WHAT:             Downtown Partnership of Baltimore is partnering with the local community to create a new vision for a critical block on Pratt Street near Baltimore’s famous Inner Harbor. The public is invited to a Placemaking event where they can participate in fun planning exercises that will ultimately determine how this block is developed into a more vibrant community asset.

WHO:            Downtown Partnership of Baltimore in conjunction with New York-based Project for Public Spaces. The event and subsequent improvements are made possible by a grant from Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV). This is the first grant awarded nationally as part of Southwest’s Heart of the Community Program – which helps localities across the nation create more vibrant spaces through physical improvements and event programming.

WHEN:          Thursday, July 12 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. There is no formal program. People may stop by at any time.

WHERE:         Due to the forecast, the event will be held inside the lobby of the Tower at 100 Light Street overlooking Pratt Street

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES: HEART OF THE CITY GRANT ANNOUNCEMENT

Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community Program Grant will Transform Pratt and Light Plaza into Vibrant Gathering Place

 Local community will help drive plaza revitalization through Placemaking process

BALTIMORE (June 4, 2014) – Downtown Partnership of Baltimore announced today the award of a grant from Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) to transform the pedestrian thoroughfare at Pratt and Light Plaza into a vibrant, everyday gathering place for the community. The revitalization and activation of this public space will mark the latest major improvement to Pratt Street, the most heavily-used pedestrian street in Baltimore and the city’s face to the world. This project complements broader efforts to improve Downtown Baltimore through enhancing streets, sidewalks, parks and plazas. This is the first of Southwest Airlines’ nationwide Heart of the Community grants to be announced for 2014; the Heart of the Community program, in partnership with Project for Public Spaces, supports and revitalizes public spaces in the hearts of cities nationwide.

The vision for the new public space will be created in partnership with the local community through Placemaking – a movement and process rooted in community-based participation that involves the planning, design, management and programming of public spaces and capitalizes on a community’s assets and potential to create vibrant destinations. Project for Public Spaces, the pioneering nonprofit organization behind Placemaking, will facilitate a series of workshops and events with the community to develop the vision for the new public space. Once this vision has been developed, PPS will partner with Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and Southwest Airlines to implement new physical amenities, installations, programming and activities that will further activate and enhance Pratt and Light Plaza.

“Southwest Airlines believes that vibrant public spaces connect people and strengthen local communities,” said Megan Wood, Senior Manager of Community Outreach at Southwest Airlines. “We have served Baltimore for more than 20 years and it is one of our largest operations, so we are excited to strengthen our ties with the community and support the efforts to activate this new plaza in such an important location.”

The activation of Pratt and Light Plaza continues the work of the Pratt Street Redesign Plan, a master plan developed by Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, in conjunction with the City of Baltimore, to transform this important thoroughfare designed for vehicles into a world-class urban boulevard designed for the community. Since the plan’s development in 2008, numerous large-scale capital improvements and new programs and events, such as a weekly Farmers Market, have been implemented. Today, while Pratt Street is the most recognized street in Downtown Baltimore, attracting millions of tourists and residents each year, it lacks an everyday, gathering place for the community – somewhere that encourages people to stop and linger. The new Pratt and Light Plaza will serve as a shared public space that actively fills this void and attracts the 122,000 employees, 41,000 residents, and thousands of tourists within a one-mile radius of the plaza.

“Southwest Airlines is bringing tremendous financial and logistical support and letting the Downtown Baltimore community determine how those resources get used,” said Kirby Fowler, President of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore. “The Heart of the Community program is producing meaningful change across the country and we couldn’t be more pleased that Downtown Baltimore was selected to benefit from this initiative.”

As an initial stage of the Placemaking process, the partners will host a workshop with local residents and stakeholders on Thursday, June 12 where participants will help evaluate the potential for Pratt and Light Plaza, share insights into how it is currently being used and brainstorm ideas for new improvements, amenities, activities and events. The workshop will take place from 5:30 – 7 p.m. at the plaza (located at the intersection of Pratt and Light St.) and is part of a series of activities that will engage community members in the Placemaking process.

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News releases from various sources around South Baltimore.
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