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Letters to the Editor - Aug. 23

August 23, 2011

Hagerstown’s downtown is in a serious slump


To the editor:

It’s been nearly three months since city officials closed the Hagerstown Telework Center at 14 N. Potomac St., booting more than 30 federal workers and small business owners (aka downtown shoppers and lunch-time restaurant patrons) out of their offices and away from the downtown area. Since that time, two more businesses (R. Bruce Carson Jewelers and Lena Darner) have announced plans to move to greener pastures, adding to the landscape of empty store fronts that once housed The Boutique, Jane Anderson Brides, Ingram’s, Hoffman’s, Bentley’s Bagels and many more.

The city’s response to this exodus? Well, for starters, they listened to all the complaints about downtown parking by doubling the parking meter rates. Slowly the downtown area is becoming a haven for the unemployed, low-income housing, and the remaining city and state workers with downtown offices. Lest I be accused of only seeing the gaps, I’ll acknowledge the University Center and Barbara Ingram School as examples of positive growth. And certainly I will not overlook the city’s success in enticing a Pennsylvania company to open an ink recycling shop on Washington Street (who can miss the bold green neon lights brightening the empty streets every evening?).

 I worry about the last remaining shops and restaurants and how long they can survive in this environment. Remember those old TV Western shows where a sign hung on the entrance to the town that read “Vagrants Not Welcome”? I suspect that some day soon, the City of Hagerstown will hang signs on the entrances to the downtown area that read “Shoppers, Diners and Small Business Owners Not Welcome.”


Norine Dagliano
Hagerstown




Government has forgotten the American family


To the editor:

I am surprised that no one has mentioned the latest government giveaway to the banks. When the Fed announced that rates would be kept near zero percent for the next two years, they didn’t require credit card interest be lowered. This is nothing but an outright gift to banks paid for by the middle class.

Banks can now borrow as much as they can with practically no interest and still charge from 14 percent to 25 percent interest on those credit cards. I wish I could make 14 percent plus interest on my certificates of deposit and bank accounts. Retirees continue to suffer.

The members of both political parties have completely forgotten the average American family. Time for a third party folks! Remember what Thomas Jefferson said: “The tree of Liberty must occasionally be watered by the blood of Patriots.”

 
Barb Pengelly
Maugansville

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