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Letter to the Editor - July 24

July 24, 2013

Why save Suns when other businesses have been let go?

To the editor:

What I find interesting is all of the initiatives and financial resources that are being consumed for the proposed construction of a multi-purpose stadium designed to retain the Hagerstown Suns. Over the years, I have watched the mayor and council of the City of Hagerstown and the Washington County Commissioners sit by idly as one company after another has relocated from the Hagerstown area. It is too bad that these governments, with all of their economic development resources, did not put as much energy into trying to retain Fairchild, Unilever (formerly Good Humor-Breyers), the Allegheny Energy corporate headquarters, Pangborn, Goodrich Aerospace (formerly Rohr Industries), Garden State Tanning and Danzer Industries — to name a few. What is even more interesting is that all of the aforementioned companies did not go out of business, but they actually relocated their business in one fashion or another to other states or jurisdictions.

Also, I keep hearing about the Hagerstown Suns and their quality-of-life issues as they relate to economic development. As a former economic development practitioner, I cannot recall one business that has maintained its presence in Hagerstown or Washington County, nor can I recall one business that has relocated here because of the Hagerstown Suns.

In my estimation, $30 million to $37 million is a lot of money to spend on a retention project for 50 or so employees. I personally believe that it would be better to invest $30 million to $37 million into one or more industrial parks providing Interstate access, railroad service and the infrastructure required for business development. An excellent example of a successful endeavor of this type would be the Interstate Industrial Park south of Hagerstown near Williamsport. In addition to providing employment for an estimated 2,200 people, the Interstate Industrial Park has generated substantial real estate tax revenue that has assisted in the funding of schools and many other community services.

What Hagerstown and Washington County need to do is change their reputation as an overregulated, overtaxed microcosm of the State of Maryland and gain a reputation as a sanctuary where business and industry can locate and prosper.

Robert B. Garver
Hagerstown

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