Letters to the editor 10/22

October 22, 2002

North stadium a waste of money

To the editor:

I would like to make two observations regarding the North Hagerstown High athletic complex.

First: If the Hagerstown community is so flush that it would donate $2.5 million it would seem to me that it would be better directed to the Board of Education for the express purpose to reduce class size and/or acquiring computers and textbooks. This would have the added benefit of reducing the tax burden on the property owners. Incidentally, who picks up the tab for the upkeep of this project?

Second: I have resided on St. Clair Street since 1946. I first learned of the decision to build a senior high school on Pennsylvania Avenue in 1954. No public hearings were held. My opposition to locating a senior high school adjacent to a residential area was economic.

It dropped the resale value of my home some 30 percent. My opposition at that time was expressed to the board and was brushed off. I was later informed that because of cost considerations North High was to get a community auditorium and South High was to have a school stadium. North High would only have a practice field and all scheduled games were to be held at South High.


Soon after, Northern Middle School was built. The state school board determined it had insufficient playground area and that the board had to acquire additional acreage. As published in The Herald-Mail papers, the board purchased 11 acres from the H.A. Bester estate, on the East Side of St. Clair to satisfy the deficiency.

It is obvious that the location of the proposed stadium is on that property. How does Northern Middle benefit? Since the present North High School athletic facilities, such as the all-weather track (funded by the taxpayers) lie north of the proposed stadium, does that mean those facilities will be abandoned?

I am unalterably opposed to any tax monies, county or state, being used for this project.

John Finn


Developers should help pay for bypasses

To the editor:

Remember when Eastern Boulevard was a dream, rather than a nightmare? It was to be the panacea for traffic congestion in Hagerstown. It would move traffic quickly around the city, bringing great relief to downtown merchants and motorists alike.

There was only one major problem: No one could raise that kind of money. Years of planning, hoping and dreaming went by and finally the money came in. Every taxpayer in the nation was probably tapped at least once, some twice and some three times or more.

When the road was first opened to traffic, it was wonderful. We could cruise around town with the greatest of ease. For a short while, driving was almost a pleasure.

Then came the developers - buildings went up like mushrooms; access roads and intersections were built; traffic lights went in; traffic slowed to a crawl, and the last remaining vacant lots have been rezoned for development.

While the taxpayers are still paying off the bonds for Eastern Boulevard and suffering from chronic road rage, the developers are wallowing in their wealth and investing in land where the next bypass will be built. Shouldn't developers be asked to ante up for a large share of the next project?

They can well afford it. Ask the County Commissioner candidates if they plan to levy a developer's tax or continue business as usual.

They will say that Eastern Boulevard is a city project - which is true - but I'll bet that plenty of county and state money went into it. And if the county builds a bypass anywhere, the developers will be there before the asphalt cools.

Jim Laird


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