Waterfront Partnership Releases Findings Of Inner Harbor Public Attitude Survey

(Baltimore, MD) – Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore released today the findings of an independently conducted survey measuring public attitudes about the Inner Harbor among City residents. The results of the survey indicate strong visitation of the Inner Harbor and its attractions by residents as well as a sense of pride and support for continued upgrades and investments.

Randomly selected registered voters across Baltimore were interviewed by phone in August 2015. Residents were asked their opinions on improvements that would attract locals to visit more often.

Among other findings, the survey, conducted by OpinionWorks, found the following:

Inner Harbor Visitation

Two-thirds (68%) of residents said they have visited the Inner Harbor for a reason other than for work in the past year. Of those who have visited, the average (median) number of visits is four in the past year.

Among all visitors, 70% said they are most likely to have come to the Inner Harbor “to walk along the water and enjoy the area.” Other frequent reasons included “to eat out” (67%), “to visit an attraction like the Aquarium” (64%), “to show out-of-town guests” (50%), for “free outdoor events” (50%), and “to shop” (42%).

Visitation of Individual Attractions

Residents who had visited the Inner Harbor at least once in the past year were asked how many times they visited each of six major attractions during that year:

  • 52% of residents who visited the Harbor have visited the National Aquarium
  • The Maryland Science Center has been visited by 39%
  • The historic ships have been visited by 36%
  • The American Visionary Art Museum has been visited by 31%
  • Port Discovery has been visited by 25%
  • Ripley’s Believe It or Not has been visited by 20%

Impact of Amenities

Survey participants were read a variety of amenities or attractions and asked whether each one would bring them to the Inner Harbor more often. Leading the list was “free activities for children,” with 62% of residents saying that would attract them to visit more often. Other amenities included:

  • “More shade in the summer” would attract 57% to visit more often
  • “Outdoor cafes in the park” would attract 56%
  • “Tall ships” would draw 48%
  • “Outdoor fitness equipment, free classes, and games like ping pong or bocce” would attract 42%
  • “Skating in the winter” would appeal to 32%

Perceptions of Safety

When asked how safe they feel at the Inner Harbor, 80% said they feel safe at the Inner Harbor.

Attitudes about the Inner Harbor

Residents overwhelmingly agree with the proposition that the Inner Harbor is economically valuable to the City, with close to 80% agreeing “The Inner Harbor is a core asset for the City, attracting visitors that help the economy and create valuable jobs.”

Additionally, residents have a strong sense of pride about the Inner Harbor, with 74% agreeing with the statement, “As a Baltimore resident, I feel proud of the Inner Harbor.” About half of Baltimore residents (49%) strongly feel this sense of pride.

Residents also want more investment by the City in free amenities that would appeal to locals, with 69% saying “it is important for the City to add more free amenities to make the Harbor more appealing to locals” and with 67% agreeing that “it is important for the City to fix and upgrade things like the promenade, light fixtures, and other infrastructure at the Inner Harbor.”

“These results affirm the direction taken in Inner Harbor 2.0 to incorporate new, free amenities at the Harbor to attract more local residents,” said Laurie Schwartz, President of the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore. “It is incredibly helpful to learn what specific qualities of an upgraded Harbor are important to Baltimore residents, such as more shade and outdoor cafes in parks.”

Waterfront Partnership is the proud steward of Baltimore’s crown jewel, its Inner Harbor and Waterfront. We’re lean, nimble and effective; the only organization that wakes up every day, rolls its sleeves up and gets to work on new ways we can make Baltimore’s Waterfront even more active, attractive and appealing. We’re the hosts who greet visitors, the creators of programs and promotions and managers of our beautiful parks. We encourage investment in Baltimore’s most celebrated asset so it can continue to grow, to serves as a place of pride and the place where Baltimoreans come together to recreate and to celebrate. For more information, visit www.waterfrontpartnership.org.

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