Letters to the Editor - Oct. 7

October 06, 2012

Positive effects of stimulus are measurable

To the editor:

  Tom Firey asks if those who explain the effects of the stimulus (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) are credible (column, Sept. 28). In a word, yes.

 The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the stimulus created 3.3 million jobs.

 Also, any analysis of the effect of the stimulus that does not address what would have happened without it, is deficient. A survey of economists by the University of Chicago Business School (no liberal bastion) found that a solid 80 percent believed that unemployment would have been higher without it. Indeed, some believe that without it, we would have entered a depression.

Furthermore, while immediate relief was definitely a goal, many of the provisions in the stimulus were designed for long-term impact, to lay the groundwork for future prosperity. So on those provisions, we won’t be able to measure the effect for some time.

Yet job creation is not where it needs to be to keep pace with population growth, and long-term unemployment remains a concern. Economists have a number of hypotheses about this, and more than one of them could be true, but one that seems plausible to me is the debt overhang caused by the housing bubble. 

If consumers are 70 percent of the economy, but they can’t spend until they pay down their debts, that might be an explanation why employers can’t sell their products and hire more people to make them. One thing economists agree on is that it will take some time for the recovery to gain steam.

 For all our sakes, and for our country’s, let’s hope for continued progress.

Chris Morehouse
Shepherdstown, W.Va.

Bester project will employ local people

To the editor:

This letter is in response to several articles in the local paper concerning the work force that will be building the new Bester Elementary School.

Much has been said about the lack of experience and significant training that these contractors have in order to build a quality long lasting school. I can assure you otherwise.

I can attest to the fact that at least five of the major contractors on this job, who represent 51 percent of the total cost of the contract, will provide local labor.

And, as members of our organization, they have had training for their employees through our Craft Apprenticeship Program.  This is with the same curriculum we use not only in the local school system, but in West Virginia, Virginia and Pennsylvania schools as well.

There are contractors on this project who have completed over 70 major school projects involving over 6 million square feet of construction with a value of nearly $160 million, paying both prevailing wage and nonprevailing wages.

For anyone to say that Washington County Public Schools ended up with a group of “less qualified contractors” is nowhere near the truth.

As a lifelong resident and taxpayer of the City of Hagerstown and Washington County, I am happy to see that this project is being done with our local contractors and labor force.

I can also say that for someone who spent his early childhood not more than a block from this school and attended there in the ’50s when it was South Potomac Junior High School, I have a personal connection to see that the people in this neighborhood get a school they can be proud of.

Wilford Seilhamer, president
Cumberland Valley Chapter Associated Builders & Contractors

Stadium has been a good neighbor

To the editor:

As a proud Hagerstown native, I was very excited to see the prospect of a new stadium for the Hagerstown Suns being built in the heart of the city. While born and raised in this great city, after college I lived in Baltimore and now in Lancaster, Pa. I’ve seen the positive impact both Major and Minor League stadiums can have on cities and I do think that the proposed location for the Hagerstown stadium would be a great boost for Downtown and Hagerstown in general. 

With that being said, I do understand the concerns of the citizens, especially those living near the proposed complex, and from what I read in The Herald-Mail, nearby businesses and residents are asking the right questions.

It was five years ago that I moved from downtown Baltimore to downtown Lancaster. That was two years after the completion of the 6,000 seat Clipper Magazine Stadium, home of the Atlantic League’s Lancaster Barnstormers. In fact, I live one block from the front door of the stadium. I had many questions before ultimately deciding to move here. Is traffic and parking a nightmare on game days? Are the games, other events and visitors noisy or disruptive to the neighborhood? Are the stadium lights blinding?

When I asked the neighboring businesses and residents, the response was overwhelmingly positive. Most were extremely happy that what was once an underutilized industrial site was now the jewel of the neighborhood.

Five years later, I couldn’t be happier to have the stadium as my neighbor. Because of the sensitive design, the stadium lights are no issue and the only noise we hear is from the occasional firework displays. There is ample parking at the ballpark and in surrounding lots and garages, so parking in the neighborhood is not a major problem.  Because there are several entrances to the stadium parking areas, while traffic is heavier before the games and other events at the facility, it has not caused the major traffic jams some had feared.

What I now like the most about the stadium is the steady stream of families that come to each game. Many of which were re-introduced to Lancaster City. I also take great pleasure that within walking distance, I can now enjoy a game, concert, ice skating or one of the many community events held there throughout the year. My friends who own businesses near the stadium are enjoying the growing number of people coming to the neighborhood before or staying after the games or events to have dinner or a drink and community investment has increased significantly in the area — no doubt influenced by the stadium. 

Clipper Magazine Stadium is a real community asset that has contributed greatly to our neighborhood’s sense of pride, security and vitality. I applaud the citizens of Hagerstown for asking the tough questions and those questions and concerns should, and I expect will, be addressed. But after thoughtful consideration, I do hope that everyone realizes that the proposed location is a good one.

Marshall W. Snively
Lancaster, PA

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