letters 9/11

September 08, 2000

Letters to the Editor 9/11

Bartlett's canal plan unworkable

To the editor:

It is distressing to me that Rep. Roscoe Bartlett keeps reiterating in public his inclination to see the whole C&O Canal rewatered. This happened most recently at the rewatering ceremony at Lock 44 during Canal Days in Williamsport. Such a vision needs to be countered with a heavy dose of reality.

So far as I know, the congressman is the only public figure to be saying such a thing, and neither the Park Service nor the C&O Canal Association nor any other organization along the Potomac desires to promote so costly an enterprise. What good end would it serve? How would this make more sense than the present policy of developing sites for tourism at strategic spots along the Canal, with rewatering in certain areas and boats pulled by mules for excursion purposes?

The congressman must know, and the public needs to be told, that this 185 mile-long historic park has dozens of structures which are drifting toward ruin. A mill on the "level" which my wife and I patrol antedates the building of the canal. I worry about what its deteriorating roof will do to the interior. Sixty miles from here stands the Monocacy Aqueduct with its seven arches. The "temporary" steel harness holding it together can't be counted on to hold it up forever, and we could lose what many consider the "crown jewel" of the canal.


Closer to home, many of us hope to live to see the day when the Conococheague Aqueduct has its fallen wall restored. I could go on and on. The point is that we already have in place projects which cry out for funding. Why, then, divert attention to a vision which is not shared and whose costs are prohibitive to realization? Would Congressman Bartlett lend his voice and vote in Congress to such an undertaking?

I will welcome the hearty endorsement of the congressman toward the preservation of this national treasure.

But I believe this have to move beyond private vision and funding. As the immediate past president of the C&O Canal Association I can attest that there are many of us who give generously of time and money toward the park.

But private contributions and efforts and even donations from charitable trusts and foundations will not provide the millions of dollars required. So we plead for public support and for public monies to do the tasks which are at hand, before it is too late.

Let us not be led astray into some sort of a "pipe dream" vision which wastes time and diverts attention from practical reality. The C&O Canal National Historic Park deserves realistic thinking and generous funding.

Thomas L. Perry


Suns gave us a great season

To the editor:

I want to thank the Hagerstown Suns organization for a great summer at the ballpark. Baseball is what summer is all about and I appreciate being able to take part in it right here at home. The Hagerstown Suns' staffers are among the friendliest people I've known. Over the long winter I will miss them and the atmosphere they create. There is a real sense of community at Municipal Stadium which helps to make this town a nice place.

I hope we won't let the Hagerstown Suns slip away from us. If we do we'll loose that sense of community. The stakes are higher, because if the Suns leave Municipal Stadium, its abandonment will add to the sense of failure and neglect that the old power plant and the idle fiber plant inflict upon Hagerstown.

I support the effort in place to save professional baseball for Hagerstown. The new stadium is a good idea - that's why it won't go away in spite of efforts to kill it. The examples are out there; communities that build new ballparks are impressed with the success they created. I hope we have an opportunity to enjoy a similar success. If not, we will certainly lament the perception of an additional failure.

Dan Spedden


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