Black Flag for Proposed TrackI would like to comment...


April 23, 1995

Black Flag for Proposed Track

I would like to comment concerning the editorial, "Black Flag for Harford Race Track?" (April 3). I applaud County Executive Eileen Rehrmann and Havre de Grace Mayor Gunther Hirsch for declaring their opposition to the race track proposal. A facility of this type would be a horrific intrusion upon the quality of life and well-being of nearby residents, for obvious reasons (noise level annoyance, air pollution, traffic congestion and decline in property values). My feelings are shared by many.

Working on behalf of Citizens Against the Racetrack (CAR), a colleague and I recently circulated a petition among our fellow residents of Windemere, a community of more than 100 homes in Aberdeen. Signatures indicating strong opposition to the track were obtained from approximately 90 percent of these homeowners. Petitions were also circulated to neighboring communities within Aberdeen, with consistent results: the overwhelming majority of our residents are strongly opposed to the racetrack.

Concerning your statement, "the decision on the race track should, in any case, be left to Havre de Grace," the proposed site lies approximately midway between Havre de Grace and Aberdeen. Thus, this should not be only a Havre de Grace issue. The Aberdeen communities referred to above are within two miles of the site and many other small developments and individual homes within a few miles of the site are on county land, not part of the cities of Havre de Grace or Aberdeen. Many non-Havre de Grace residents, such as those in the small community of Glen Heights, are virtually in the "backyard" of the site.

I hope that the city and county councils will do whatever is necessary to stop this project dead in its tracks. If not, the decision should be based on the vote of all residents who stand to be so adversely affected.

Robert E. Walther


Good Neighbors?

On April 1, I was one of hundreds of residents to attend the Aberdeen Proving Grounds community meeting at Edgewood High School. I am still a little numb, and am not sure whether to laugh or cry.

The hours were 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. in order to accommodate residents throughout the day; all this did was spread out the citizenry. Instead of having power in numbers and a strong voice, the citizen population of the Edgewood area was diluted. The meeting was set up like a trade convention. You could move from exhibit to exhibit, which here again spread out the citizenry and kept its voice diluted. Not surprisingly, at each exhibit you could get different answers to the same questions.

All of the staff wore "name tags," but did not identify who they were actually with. Four of these folks, when asked if they lived in Harford County, responded "no." Maj. Gen. Richard Tragemann was even there, sitting in the very back of the room catching up on paperwork. "He is available for your questions," said one of the mystery name tags. Isn't it nice that he is showing his concern, giving up his Saturday, when he could be out at Ruggles?

When asking at the door if any Harford County officials were present, one of the name tags handed us a sheet of paper telling us to call the Department of Taxation and Assessment if we have any real estate questions. It is a real shame that our elected Harford County officials didn't feel the need to give up one of their Saturdays for the citizens of Edgewood. I will be sure to remember each and every one of them the next time they run for office.

What is the worst case scenario? If an explosion occurs and a toxic cloud of phosgene or mustard develops? What if the wind is blowing out of the south? Do the families in Constant Friendship, Abingdon, Glenangus and Todd Lakes, as well as the town of Bel Air, have anything to fear? How far can a toxic cloud drift before dissipating? Is it only the citizens of Edgewood who should be confused and angry? Only Edgewood citizens who worry about the largest financial investment of their lives, their homes and property?

"We want you to stay in your homes if there is an accident," answered one of the name-tagged officials. Will this make it easier to ID victims when they come around with body bags? How could these hundreds of homes and businesses have been approved for construction and occupancy? Someone had to know about these chemicals and nuclear missiles. We need some answers.

William L. LeRoy


Hirsch's Strides

In a time when our country and perhaps our local communities have taken on an "anti-incumbent" sentiment regarding politicians, my question to residents of Havre de Grace is simple: If things have gotten better, why change?

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