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Fells Point Recreation Pier added to state's 2010 most endangered places list

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The Fells Point Recreation Pier is one of the state's most endangered sites. At least so says Preservation Maryland, the oldest historic-preservation organization in Maryland, and partner MarylandLife magazine, the team behind the annual list of Maryland's 11 most endangered sites, artifacts and groups of people.

The pier, famous for its place in the city's history as the "Ellis Island ofBaltimore" became well-know once again in 1992 as the location for the hit TV show Homicide: Life on the Streets. The show's run ended in 1999 and now the distinctive brick building with the 500-footpier sits neglected, its decrepit structure falling into the waterfront. Saving the slowly disintegrating pier became a rallying point for members of Fells Point Main Street, whose mission is to promote, strengthen, and revitalize Fells Point's commercial and historic districts. The group nominated the site because it has been sitting vacant for a decade. The building and pilings are rapidly deteriorating, and the area is in need of extensive repair.

"We are excited and gratified that Fell's Point Main Street was successful in its nomination of the Recreation Pier to be named as one of the state's most endangered places by Preservation Maryland. We have always thought that the Recreation Pier is an important part of Fell's Point's history and promises to be an important part of its future.Several years ago,Baltimore City officials decided (with the community's approval) that Baltimore developers J. Joseph Clarke and H&S Properties Development Corporation should relocate Moran Towing Corporation, a tugboat company, from the pier and develop a hotel and restaurant," says Jannette Barth, Fells Point Main Street board president.

"The epicenter of Baltimore's renaissance is the harbor, and the architectural jewel in the crown is the Recreation Pier;' says Lori Guess, a longtime Fells Point resident, attorney, and former chair of the Fells Point Task Force Recreation Pier committee, tells MarylandLife. "This beautiful building-one of very few publicly owned waterfront properties-desperately needs preservation to continue the positive momentum of Baltimore development:' Once the second-leading port of entry (after Ellis Island) on the East Coast, Fells Point's pier was declared a public recreation center in 1914. The head house even has a grand ballroom and served as one of the first municipal dance halls in the country."

While work has yet to begin to restore the pier, Baltimore Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano recently indicated that work should begin shortly on the new 132-room hotel that wil be the piers new occupant, according to the announcement. 

Source: Jannette Barth, Fells Point Main Street
Writer: Walaika Haskins
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