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Letters to the Editor

February 16, 2000

Stadium benefits whole county

To the editor:

To those opposed to building a new railroad museum and baseball stadium, I say "good for you!" Let's keep Washington County in the dark ages. Let's not do anything that could be remotely construed as progress. Let's keep everything just as it is right now. Change is far too frightening; and besides, it usually costs money!

That's the impression I get from most of those in opposition to the museum/stadium proposal. In reality, however, the plan is nothing more than an investment in the future of Washington County.

Yes, we have a water and sewer debt that we need to get under control.

But that's just another reason to be in favor of the most recent proposal.

Many are opposed to having their tax dollars help pay for a baseball stadium in Washington County, but apparently these same people weren't terribly concerned when their tax dollars were approved to be spent to construct Oriole Park at Camden Yards and PSI Net Stadium in Baltimore; and baseball stadiums in Salisbury, Bowie, Aberdeen and Frederick all within the last 10 years or so.

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Why not bring some of those funds to Washington County, and let some of the other Marylanders help foot the bill for something that will benefit us through increased tourism, additional businesses, and increased tax revenue that will help pay off the water and sewer debt faster?

The plan proposes doubling the hotel/motel tax to 6 percent, and diverting some of the area's tip jar proceeds to help fund the project.

Those in the hotel/motel business are upset because they feel the increase will negatively affect their business. But how many of their guests actually ask about the tax rate prior to making reservations? If it's as high as 1 percent I'd be shocked. Of course, the fact that the hotel/motel industry would stand to gain more than any other with the expected increase in tourism is beside the point. (And if you're keeping score, those tax dollars will typically come from non-Washington County residents.)

And how will these establishments fare if there is no longer a professional baseball team in town; a team that attracts people from various locations throughout the country, many of whom have stayed in these establishments regularly since 1981?

There are still those who stated that Washington County doesn't need a new stadium, we just need to renovate Municipal Stadium. My hunch is most of these folks haven't been to Municipal Stadium for a Suns game recently. And if they have, they likely have not been to ballparks in other areas to compare the two. These, apparently, are the same people who would spend $3,000 to repair a 10-year old car with 150,000 miles on it.

So, if the question is: Does Washington County really need a new stadium?

The answer is No. But if the question is: Will it benefit Washington County to build a new stadium? The answer is a resounding yes.

Curt Hornbecker

Boonsboro

The world is bigger than Hagerstown

To the editor:

A strange thing has happened after many years of subscribing to our local newspaper, I am somewhat confused as to where the world news has gone. If it is still in the paper I am somewhat confused as to where. When I go through the newspaper I grant you there is some here and there, but should we have search to find news that affects each and every one of us every day?

The system that was used in the past for the format of the paper worked so well, why would you fix something that is not broken? Sometimes changes are needed but times are confusing enough and we certainly do not need a paper, that does not recognize us as intelligent enough to read not only the local news but also to want to know what is going on in the world.

Granted not all will agree with this letter, but I, for one take great interest in this world that we live in both local and worldwide.

Connie L. Daley

Hagerstown

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