Letters to the Editor - March 21

March 20, 2011

Are there no better letters to print?

To the editor:

I don't live in Hagerstown anymore, but my family still does, and once in a while I read the paper online, etc., and had the misfortune of reading the opinion section for March 12.

While I know what to expect when reading this section from years of living in Hagerstown, what I saw today was beyond appalling — a disjointed, incomprehensible rambling that had something to do with unions and a paranoid conspiracy theorist getting page space and PR for some bizarre website. Are there really no other letters to print?

My only hope is that what I saw online differed from the print version and that this is some sort of mistake. The Hagerstown community thrives on a diversity of views, and I think it deserves editorial standards of much greater quality than what I saw exhibited today.

Hans Baumann

Cambridge, Mass.

Hagerstown seems to remodel by demolition


To the editor:

I read with interest the headline story last Thursday of the beginning of the demolition process for the former hospital. There was some nostalgia for me in the story. One of my first jobs as a young lad in the decade of the '60s in Hagerstown was as a construction helper on the addition and "modernization" of the hospital building, also where I had been born in 1947.

Over the years, I showed many people the wall which contained rebar, or reinforcement rods that I myself had cut. This was the hardest work I had ever done in my young life. Now, the structure will face the wrecking ball. Not that it is so unusual. Hagerstown seems to remodel by demolition. Today's paper has the photo of the library re-do, another location where I spent much of my time. As for the Pangborn properties, all my uncles were employed there in 1935 through World War II and later. Now, that is being trucked away in the name of progress.

As I worked at Fort Ritchie during the days of its closing, my efforts to "sell" that property to Washington County so that the County Commissioners could "give" the post to Corporate Office Properties Trust, I learned one key thing about redevelopment. The paramount maxim is that redevelopment works better in open space rather than in rehab.

Meritus Health President and CEO James Hamill reinforced this redevelopment golden rule in the article stating, "This is the right thing to do for the community. There are not alternatives."

Hopefully, the citizenry will swallow this idea and move on rather than crying over how many uses (without funding) the old buildings "could have" been used for.

If Hagerstonians need any reminders that they must move on or that they must make a positive thing out of salvaging those rebar pieces I cut up as they emerge from the hospital rubble, then please "show me the money" for any of those grandiose alternate-use ideas.

Bill Spigler

Waynesboro, Pa.

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