Letters to the Editor - March 25

March 25, 2012

Rail trails have many benefits

To the editor:

I would like to respectfully respond to Sylvia M. Bealer’s letter to the editor printed in The Herald-Mail on March 8. Ms. Bealer stated that she is not in favor of the proposed Civil War Rail Trail. She states “The rail trail would be an eyesore to anyone wanting to open a bed and breakfast in the neighborhood.”

Rail trails are basically a blacktop trail only a few feet wide. Most people do not see them as being ugly. They do not detract from the beauty and give others an opportunity to see nature while biking safely away from traffic. Most bicycle riders are very nice people.

The rail trail could actually spur the development of bed and breakfast businesses. I routinely ride rail trails and frequently stay at a bed and breakfast. My most recent trip was to Marlinton, W.Va. There I stayed in a bed and breakfast while riding the Greenbrier River Rail Trail. The bed and breakfast and other businesses were glad to have my business. A couple of other families rode on the rail trail from the same bed and breakfast while I was there too.

Many books and brochures describing rail trails, places to eat and places to stay are printed each year. You can find many of these trails and places to stay at the National Rails to Trail Conservancy website. Maybe our proposed rail trail and businesses could eventually be listed there too. I believe Washington County could benefit from a rail to trail just like many other towns and counties around this great country.

Brad H. Keller

New Suns stadium should be built

To the editor:

Washington County is in danger of losing the Hagerstown Suns because Municipal Stadium is not up to the minimum standards for Class A professional baseball. Either the stadium must be improved to minimum standards or the team must move. The Suns owners have no choice but to comply.

Some people have a misunderstanding about the purpose of minor league baseball and the positive benefits of having a local team. Several people have publicly expressed their opposition to building a new stadium. Some reasons cited for this opposition are: Game attendance will not increase significantly; the Suns provide little financial benefit to the community; the Suns do not field championship teams; few Suns players advance to the major leagues; local taxes will increase.

First, local taxes will not need to increase if the stadium is built. Public funding for the stadium can come from the local hotel/motel tax and the Maryland Stadium Authority.

The Hagerstown Suns baseball team is a financial benefit to the local economy. Concession supplies, equipment, team transportation, etc., are purchased locally. The Suns office employs about 10 full-time workers year around, and more than 30 part-time workers during each home game. Suns players, manager, coaches, and trainers add up to more than 30 people. These people are living in the Hagerstown area and spending their income locally. Additionally, visiting team players, managers, coaches, trainers, scouts, and player families stay in local motels and dine in local restaurants throughout the season. These monies are “fixed” since they do not depend on game attendance. In fact, increasing game attendance should not even be a driving consideration in the decision on building a new stadium.

The objective of minor league baseball is different than that of major league baseball. The sole purpose of minor league baseball is to develop players to advance to the major league level. The Suns have no say in the ability of the players who are assigned to the team. This also means that as the Suns players improve in their playing abilities they are promoted to a higher level and replacement players are assigned to the Suns. However, the Suns do have an impressive record for developing and advancing players. According to Baseball Reference, 199 former Hagerstown Suns players have advanced and performed for a major league team.

If the Suns are forced to move it will be a significant loss, both recreational and financial, to a large number of Washington County citizens. Therefore, the local governments and citizens should all get behind a new stadium project and move it forward.

Dean Burkett

The Herald-Mail Articles