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Letters to the Editor - Feb. 26

February 26, 2012

An urban ballpark could mean a lot to Hagerstown


To the editor:

If Hagerstown indeed decides to proceed with full or partial public funding for a new ballpark, then these funds would be best assigned for a mixed-use neighborhood ballpark to be in Hagers-town’s historic downtown for the following reasons.

First, a ballpark as part of a mixed-use neighborhood would be more conducive to promoting walkable streets and vitality in the vicinity than a suburban ballpark in a single-use zone. A ballpark as part of a mixed-use neighborhood, which is primarily pedestrian-oriented, would promote more foot traffic, increase the viability of the surrounding shops and facilities, and it could be used to promote revitalization. If the city is interested in getting the most benefit from a new ballpark, a mixed-use context would allow the ballpark to share its success with the rest of the neighborhood.

Second, a mixed-use neighborhood ballpark would significantly benefit Hagerstown’s downtown. At a time when the city is looking for revitalization strategies for the downtown, here is an opportunity to direct growth back to the heart of the community. Ultimately, a downtown neighborhood ballpark would be not only about providing entertainment downtown but about ensuring the future ability of the downtown to continue serving as the center of community life.

Third, the baseball team would benefit financially from playing in an active locale. A ballpark as part of an active mixed-use neighborhood in the downtown could promote higher attendance for games, not only because of the new stadium, but because of the convenient pedestrian-friendly environment that would make the venue accessible to and from other nearby commercial activities and residences in the neighborhood.

If the city is indeed serious about revitalizing Hagerstown’s downtown — a place that has provided a sense of community and been the source of local identity for a very long time — now is the moment to consider what an urban ballpark could mean for its future.


Oscar Hernandez
Hagerstown



Students should have some input in POWER program


To the editor:

I am writing about the story on Washington County Public Schools’ pilot Performance Outcomes With Effective Rewards (POWER) program. The story was well-written, very informative and gave details about the evaluation ratings for which I have been curious.

The most important issue at hand that the Race to the Top grant and this pilot program have left out is the “public” aspect. Maybe there have been some public forums or requests for input, but I am speaking directly about the evaluation process. It is a closed process. It involves only teachers and administrators. It does not involve the public — those children, adolescents and young adults who are being taught, and the parents who are supposed to have a rapport with the teachers.

Now you might ask how children can have any input. They can speak through their parents on survey forms each semester. Adolescents and young adults can speak for themselves and fill in bubbles on survey forms. Receiving anonymous input from students might prove invaluable because they are the only ones who truly see what actually happens in the classroom. The administrators cannot see what actually happens because, although they might make surprise visits, the teachers they visit likely will change their demeanor to what the administrator expects to see in a “good” teacher.

Don’t most of us change our behavior to what is expected by our supervisors? The right to include public input might help turn this closed process around and lead to progress.


Diane I. Pugh
Hagerstown

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