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Letters to the Editor

December 14, 1999

Keep history alive

To the editor:

I would like to compliment the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum Inc. organization for surviving the tragedy of losing the hopes of restoring the former roundhouse and looking ahead by supporting the proposed Hagerstown Roundhouse Sports Complex. Their association with this project reestablishes their desire to keep and maintain Hagerstown's railroad heritage.

The current museum has had visitors from all 50 states and attendance has increased each year. The holiday displays of model railroads is a joy to view and brings many to their existing facilities that are cramped. Their annual train excursions are consistently full and could be expanded at a new facility.

I encourage all who supported the previous efforts to preserve the roundhouse to support the new complex to keep our railroad museum in Hagerstown, allowing it to expand to provide full scale exhibits of railcars and locomotives in addition to all the other pictorials and artifacts they have obtained.

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This solidifies the goal of boosting tourism of the county and will provide additional economic benefits to local business. The railroad is what gave Hagerstown its nickname of "Hub City." Let us work to preserve it by supporting the Roundhouse Museum in their effort to move forward with the proposed complex.

Michael L. Gehr

Hagerstown

Forget the stadium

To the editor:

This letter is in reference to the ongoing baseball stadium issue. I've read so many ridiculous statements in the last few weeks that I decided it necessary to offer an opinion shared by a public yet unspoken. Let me begin by addressing the remarks made that the current stadium would not benefit from a makeover. Financially - in the eyes of the taxpayers - the less money we spend on this project, the better!

The misconception that the "pro-stadium" advocates have is that a renovation as opposed to new stadium construction, would not offer the needed changes. Consider the recent and ongoing project at our very own Valley Mall. I don't know about the rest of the community, but I think they've done a great job, and they've done so without building a new mall. Why can't we do the same for the stadium?

Consider the following: what happens to ticket prices if a new stadium is constructed? Let me tell you - increased prices for a team whose players don't even move on to our "home team" - the Baltimore Orioles. Statements have been made that the current stadium can't house the larger crowds. When was the last game that was sold out? A large crowd to me is a sold out game, yet the current attendance figures don't reflect that volume. More likely, a few hundred people turn out to watch the Suns.

Need more seats? Bring a lawn chair!

The money for this project is an amalgamation of funds contributed by taxpayers. We have the right to voice an opinion. If this stadium will pay for itself in 20 years then let it. Start by cutting players' salaries and offering that money to the stadium fund.

To me, 20 years is a very long time to pay for a project that is "so good for our community", and that estimate was based on the prediction that the games will have increased attendance. I'm not opposed to fixing up the stadium, and I'm quite positive that done correctly our stadium can again be returned to its once new condition. Spend a little, save a little.

My closing thought is this: the selfish concern of baseball fanatics should not be given greater consideration than the general public. We should spend tax money in a way that will benefit our community as a whole. Baseball is not now, nor has it ever been the key to our future.

Dave Lescalleet

Hagerstown

A worthy project

To the editor:

I am writing in support of the proposed stadium and roundhouse museum. I see the development of the proposed sports facility and roundhouse museum as a community asset and not something that simply benefits one person or group. The proposed sports complex and museum is the type of community facility that will provide our region with benefits in the areas of economic development, tourism and preservation of a part of our heritage.

In terms of economic development, the stadium would ensure that minor league baseball would stay in Hagerstown. Other communities have built stadiums with the hope of attracting a minor league ball club.

We are blessed to have a ball club in our community and I believe we have a very small window of opportunity to keep this club.

The development of the stadium/roundhouse museum is equally important in providing our community with a well-rounded compliment of quality entertainment. Attractions such as this and the Museum of Fine Arts, the MSO and others are significant in attracting businesses and therefore jobs to our community.

The sports complex and roundhouse museum also provides several tools to bolster the community's tourism efforts. The roundhouse museum offers an effective year-round venue for attracting railroad enthusiasts to the area and would help to provide a much-needed means of showcasing this important part of our region's heritage.

The proposed sports complex will provide our region with additional soccer fields. This will give our community a better opportunity to host tournaments.

I find the proposal for the sports complex and roundhouse museum visionary and exciting and a community asset that will benefit our community for many generations to come.

Thomas C. Newcomer

Hagerstown

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