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Letters to the Editor

December 01, 1999

Suns are an important attraction

To the editor:

When we came to Washington County four years ago, the very first public event we attended was the opening day of the Hagerstown Suns at Municipal Stadium. I was excited to learn that there was a Minor League team here.

While I was excited about good baseball being here, I was nonplused about the stadium. Here were future major league players (some with significant bonuses) playing in a stadium built during the Ruth Era.

I wondered about the logic of the City Fathers at that time was to make the investment those many years ago. They might be proud that their investment has lasted this long. Then, too, they may be disappointed that succeeding governmental bodies have no interest in maintaining what they had started.

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Since then I have found out that about 50 percent of the activities at the stadium are not related to the Suns. It certainly adds to the lifestyle of the community. It brings in visitors and tax dollars. Is the community proud of the oldest professional baseball stadium in the county? Or would they feel better about having a state of the art stadium with many more uses other than baseball.

Stadia are an important part of the cultural diversity in the common era. It would bring in additional tax dollars and support the tourist business which is getting off the ground. It is an investment in the future.

State and local officials need to act now while there is a window of opportunity.

Robert Strasburg

Hagerstown

Fund stadium with raffles

To the editor:

Lately there has been a lot of talk about a new baseball stadium for the Suns. I am sure I am not alone when I say that most likely the property owners will pay for this stadium. There as, I propose a vote of only property owners as to whether or not we build it.

Not a hard thing to do but very likely not going to happen. It seems the cost goes up every time I see an article about it. I stopped going when we lost the Orioles farm team as did most of the people I know. I really do not want to pay for something like this. I am not one to tripe without giving up a solution of some sort.

Why doesn't the stadiums supporters hold fund-raisers and raffles. This most likely will not work because its easier for people to say build it! Build it! but harder to get people to actually do the leg work.

Try something new. Why do we not search out some of our local businesses to help out. For example we could allow local landscapers to section off areas around the stadium to show off their skills. They take care of their area for free and in exchange they can display a sign advertising themselves and their work.

Sell memorial areas such as bleachers, walkways, concession stands, or lease them to sponsors. Small groups and businesses with limited budgets could sponsor light poles, fences, ticket windows, etc.

Construction companies, electrical contractors, building suppliers, etc. could donate time and materials. In exchange they get a free large advertisement placard for 5, 10, 20 years or whatever, which could be determined by their contribution.

I believe that this could be accomplished by someone if they believed that deeply in a new stadium. This is not as far fetched as some of you may believe.

I just think that those who pay for the stadium should get something out of it. The only possible thing wrong with this idea is that the Suns and city may believe they will be financially harmed by not allowing the taxpayers to pay for it. It's time that taxes are not the first option for local government to go to for a new toy or to follow me one of their blind $50,000 studies that tell us maybe yes and maybe no. It seems these studies are never definitive anyhow.

Richard E. Tracy

Hagerstown

Hands off First Hose

To the editor:

I am outraged by the proposal from the Arts and Entertainment District Committee, to close the First Hose Fire Company. In addition to being a fire company member, I operate a fine arts business within this district.

At this location since 1881, volunteers have faithfully stood watch, protecting the lives and property of the downtown community. During the heyday of downtown, thousands of people would line South Potomac Street after shows at the Colonial, Henry, and Maryland theaters had ended. Crowded sidewalks abounded-exemplifying a vibrant bustling downtown. No public outcry was heard then for First Hose to move. The citizenry had respect and reverence for First Hose.

To ask the dedicated membership of First Hose to give up their home and heritage spanning many generations, shows the extreme arrogance of the Arts and Entertainment District Committee. What a disservice to the downtown community. Is this the gratitude that First Hose deserves for their valiant efforts to save the Maryland Theatre from that devastating fire in 1974? The very theater that is the jewel of your entertainment district.

Who is next? Are you going to ask Faith Chapel to move, so that you can claim the old Colonial?

Shame on you to suggest such a move. Perhaps some of your self-serving members should move elsewhere.

Guy T. Kuhn

Hagerstown

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