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Letters to the Editor - Feb. 16

February 15, 2012

Protect Downtown Charles Town Historic District

To the editor:
Preservation Alliance of West Virginia (PAWV) recently learned that the Charles Town (W.Va.) Historic Landmarks Commission has approved a plan to demolish several historic buildings for new construction of a CVS/pharmacy in the Downtown Charles Town Historic District.

As the statewide, grassroots nonprofit organization supporting historic preservation, it is of great concern to PAWV that a historic town like Charles Town would consider the new construction of a chain drug store within its historic downtown. It is even more shocking that this proposal has been accepted in light of the planned destruction of historic buildings to make way for the building and a large parking lot.

Instead of accepting this current intrusion as it stands, PAWV recommends that the city consider alternatives with historically sensitive construction that would not destroy the historic built environment.

The town’s heritage should be respected and saved in order to preserve the marks left on our national landscape and the collective memory associated with them.

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There are many cities where CVS has constructed architecturally compatible stores in the middle of historic districts. InSt. Petersburg, Fla., for example, residents encouraged CVS to build a store in the Art Deco style, better matching the surrounding, local architecture. However, infill architecture, as proposed with the new CVS, should not include the demolition of historic structures and should be consistent with the size, scale and character of the adjacent buildings.

Charles Town and CVS have an opportunity to continue the gift to the street that past structures represent — a gift of beauty, texture, variety and creativity that we all need. PAWV hopes that the current plan will be amended in a way that is either complementary to the historic downtown district and in conformance with the city’s comprehensive plan, or that a location outside the downtown be selected.

PAWV stands ready to assist CVS and Charles Town in any way we can to arrive at a project that contributes to the long-term future of Charles Town as an impressive landmark city.

Danielle LaPresta
Preservation Alliance of West Virginia


Beware of callers with Jamaican area code

To the editor:
I am writing this letter to warn people of phone calls I have received from four men. All of them might be the same person; they all have mumbled speech and it is garbled by distance. They all say it’s imperative that you call them back at a number with an area code for Jamaica. They probably sit at a table with multiple cheap cellphones and keep pushing the redail button to several people at the same time.

We were waiting for a phone call from our plumber, so I asked my husband to answer the phone while I was gone. As I arrived home from errands, my husband told the first caller that if he needed the Social Security number, they’d have to talk to his wife and hung up. So they called back immediately.

The first time he called back, I answered to see who was asking for a Social Security number. I asked for the name and he said he had a package for us. I said we hadn’t entered his contest, so “no thanks, good-bye.” I hung up, but the phone continued to ring and ring and ring again and again.

When there was a lull, I checked phone messages and there were six in a row: 4:04, 4:10, 4:14, 4:23; then again at 6:06 and 6:20 p.m. They continued calling later, but we never answered. One of the enticements in the phone messages was, “There was something fishy with your package and I’m the supervisor and I’m going to fix it up.” The caller was so “fishy” himself.

Never give our your Social Security number over the phone and lock your doors when you’re home or out.

Joy Ross
Hagerstown


Rail trail could lay groundwork for forward-moving county

To the editor:
I was astonished to read in the Jan. 28 Herald-Mail that state Sen. Chris Shank is opposed to the Civil War Rail Trail from Hagerstown to Weverton.

The attitude of our local politicians toward economic development in Hagerstown and its environs seems to vary from indifference to near hostility toward changes to retain, let alone attract, business and economic development. Consider the current state of the downtown area, a situation to which I fear they are all quite indifferent or lack the skill to change. The backward economic movement of the downtown neighborhood, and now the threat to the city to lose one of its few remaining assets, the Suns baseball team, go well beyond the problem imposed on our area by the depressed economy. It’s not that all these businesses are going under, it is that they are moving elsewhere.

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