Broadway VisitorsI would like to take this opportunity to...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 03, 1993

Broadway Visitors

I would like to take this opportunity to address some of the concerns that were raised in your May 29 article about the Broadway Pier and its proposed dockage policy.

The Sun is correct in reporting that the Texas Clipper and the State of Maine as well as other large ships have docked at the pier in the past. In addition to spending money at restaurants and other entertainment venues in Fells Point, the cadets contributed greatly to the maritime character of the area.

The city fully supports activities of this type in Fells Point and no intention to cut down on business or fun is intended in the revisions to our policy.

Unfortunately, a lax policy of allowing docking of ships of that size may have indeed contributed to the dilapidated condition of the pier by 1987. So dilapidated, in fact, was the pier that the city wound up spending far more than originally estimated to make it safe again for public use.

Once the reconstruction process was under way, it became evident that there was far more structural and subsurface deterioration than what was originally anticipated. A $900,000 contract became in the end a $1.6 million contract. The citizens of Baltimore paid for the repairs.

Every indication we have is that the new pier is a major success. We are willing, however, to have structural engineers re-evaluate the load capacities of the pier in its current, completed state. This may or may not instigate revisions to our current policy.

A welcomed public/non-profit partnership was offered by the Baltimore Harbor Endowment to upgrade the proposed surface treatment of the pier to an elegant brick and cast concrete design, complete with benches and signage.

While we cannot quantify the results yet, all indications are that many more people now visit the Broadway Pier as an attraction than before. The city believes that these additional visitors should more than make up for the revenues lost from the few ships which the pier cannot accommodate.

With the financial resources that were available at the time, the Broadway Pier has been transformed from a dilapidated, potentially unsafe eyesore to a handsome public space that offers dockage to 98 percent of visiting pleasure craft and vessels.

It is an economic asset to the Fells Point community. It is in the best interest for all involved to insure that its structural and aesthetic integrity is not compromised again.

Daniel P. Henson III

Baltimore

The writer is the Baltimore City housing commissioner.

Sleazy Stuff

The Sun is sliding further downhill. As if the recent articles on Mick Jagger weren't sleazy enough, you had to follow up with the unbelievable piece on body piercing.

I guess I would read the National Enquirer or Rolling Stone if I wanted to know about depraved people and practices, but I don't on both counts.

I buy a newspaper for news. Neither of those two pieces is newsworthy. My subscription will be canceled tomorrow.

Every time the telephone salespeople call me to see if I receive The Sun I will tell them no, because it has demoted itself to the lowly status of a supermarket scandal sheet.

Diane Anderson

Freeland

Limited Choice

I applaud The Sun and staff writer C. Fraser Smith for an excellent article (July 20) exposing a deplorable and embarrassing "savings retirement" program involving some 22,000 state workers.

Encouraged by my wife, who is a state employee and a member of the Public Employees Benefit Services Corp., to look into a tax sheltered savings program in my current position as an educator in the Baltimore City public schools, I explored several options.

I contacted a representative of one of the private tax sheltered programs licensed by the city, was impressed and to my surprise found it vastly superior to my wife's state-licensed program.

I shared this information with her only to find out that her options were limited to one company.

We both share one thing in common: Pay raises and increased employee benefits are as rare as real dinosaurs in Jurassic Park.

One would think that the state, like the city, would support financial programs that would allow its employees to get the maximum "bang" out of their shrinking dollars.

Not only do I enjoy greater financial benefits from my private program, but the service is truly state of the art.

Last year, we needed money for an emergency situation. It took my company two weeks to respond.

My wife's program took five months and this was only after repeated phone calls and requests for additional information.

All this to get access to her money.

State employees need and deserve freedom of choice.

Nathaniel McFadden

Baltimore

A Plan to Contain the Mississippi's Wrath

Every administration that comes to power in Washington looks for an opportunity to achieve some spectacular feat, something so dramatic that it will be foremost in the minds of the population for generations.

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