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Letters to the Editor 4/18

April 17, 2000

PAL has bright future

To the editor:

I'm writing in responce to Laura Ernde's article appearing in The Morning Herald concerning Gaming Commission distributions to the Police Athletic League.

The article expresses concern over how, when, and where the funds are spent, namely the recent grant of $13,000 to assist in implementing a youth wrestling program.

Why is this of such public concern if the money generated is not strictly from City taxpayers' pockets, but from revenues generated from lotteries and tip jars? These funds are generated with these purposes in mind and it's up to the commission to decide how they can be distributed to aid our community. I applaud the continuing efforts of PAL and its initiative to create programs that encourage athletic participation in the community.

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The people who put forth the effort to better their own community often are volunteers and use their leisure time to make somebody else's life more enjoyable. Let's give them positive recognition instead of dissecting them for any flaws.

One reason this article attracted my attention is because of my recent dealings with Brett McKoy, who was named specificly. I'm affiliated with Hagerstown BMX and contacted McKoy for monthly use of the meeting room at Hagerstown Fairground Park for our board meetings, to which he agreed without hesitation. The first meeting was held on Jan 20, the day of our first significant snowfall here in town.

With snow falling and winds blowing McKoy met us there that evening to let us into the building as well as offer any assitance. Because of his help our meeting was held and Hagerstown BMX's fund-raising got an early start. If our interaction with Brett McKoy is any indication of his dedication to PAL and it's programs, I'm sure that the wrestling, roller hockey and speed skating programs that are in the planning stages now will be a success in the near future.

Brian Caron

Hagerstown

Stadium project should go forward

To the editor:

After enduring scores of articles in your newspaper professing the pros and cons of building a new stadium complex in our community, I feel compelled to add my "two cents worth."

Richard Phoebus, who chairs the stadium task force, has worked diligently to explore all the possible avenues to fund this very worthwhile project, only to be stonewalled by our elected officials at every level. The issue and ongoing debate of using tax dollars to partially fund a new stadium has become almost laughable. Where were all these critics when the state was throwing millions of dollars at Ravens' owner Art Modell? Where were they when the state was allocating funds to build stadiums in Frederick, Bowie, Salisbury, and most recently Aberdeen, which just happens to be home to Maryland's favorite son, Cal Ripken?

Coincidentally, all of the teams occupying these facilities are owned by Maryland Baseball Limited Partnership (sound familiar?), the some ownership group who relocated the original Suns' franchise to the sparkling new stadium your tax dollars built in Bowie. Your local state delegation tried to hold this project hostage by tying any state funding to the county sewer debt. That compares to going to the grocery store to buy grapes and coming home with grapefruits.

Concerning the issue of economic impact a new stadium complex would create, have any of our local officials bothered to open dialog with any of the other local governments where stadiums have been built? What significant impact, if any, has been generated by these facilities? If such inquiries were to be made, I'm confident they would see that the positives of constructing a new state of the art stadium complex far outweigh the negatives.

This project deserves to be weighed objectively on its own merit, no strings or excess baggage attached. So I urge our local government braintrust to quit practicing backwoods politics and get on with it. The future of minor league baseball in this self-professed baseball community depends on a timely resolution.

F.E. Stephens

Hagerstown

Keep trying for museum funds

To the editor:

I am writing this letter in support of Dennis Frye and the Antietam Creek Coalition in regards to their attempt to bring the Civil War Museum to downtown Hagerstown. I hope that Frye continues to aggressively seek the financing needed for this project, and I hope that the Hagerstown powers-that-be remain open minded enough to see all of the advantages that such a facility would bring to our town.

We are an area deeply steeped in history, and such a project would certainly be an exciting addition to our Washington County heritage.

I truly fear that in the last generation, we have made some very poor decisions on some development issues in our area. In my opinion, as humble as it may be, I strongly feel that we should throw our support behind this project. I understand that it will not appeal to everyone, but it would certainly be a fine addition to our already rich history.

Dwight E. Hoffman

Funkstown

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