Pimlico development threatens woodlands and...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 29, 1999

Pimlico development threatens woodlands and neighborhoods

The Sun's May 20 article on Joseph A. De Francis's plans for Pimlico Race Course ("De Francis says he's committed to renovating Pimlico racetrack") reported that most who attended a May 19 meeting held under the auspices of the Northwest Baltimore Corp. supported Mr. DeFrancis' plan with "a few reservations."

But some of those "reservations" are very serious. The proposed plan shows a green area, 6 to 8 acres large, marked for "future expansion and development."

In his presentation, Mr. De Francis said he hoped to use this area for retail stores or other commercial development, but that this building in the racetrack area would not set a precedent for other commercial development on Northern Parkway.

When I compared the De Francis map of the track property with my own map of the whole area, I discovered that the land slated for retail development is a partially wooded area adjacent to the Sinai Hospital complex and opposite a 5-acre woodland now owned by the Woodland Committee Land Trust Inc.

We have been working for five years to preserve this woodland, which we believe is crucial to the continued attractiveness of Mount Washington.

We can't agree with Mr. De Francis that tearing down his wood and putting up stores would set no precedent for more of the same on Northern Parkway. If he succeeds, others will try to do the same.

The owners of Pimlico have let the track deteriorate for three decades. And the lower Park Heights Avenue corridor, with its problems, impinges on one side.

So Mr. De Francis has a business problem: how to create a track people want to visit, next to a struggling area where people, rightly or wrongly, fear to go.

It's not surprising that he thinks of putting a retail mall on the door-step of Mount Washington, but he ought to think twice, and so should we.

The place for retail development is where people want it, and asked for it at the meeting: in the Belvedere/Park Heights corridor, where it would strengthen that neighborhood.

Elinor H. Kerpelman, Baltimore

The writer is president of the Woodland Committee Land Trust Inc.

Preakness and city need infield revelers

After reading Dan Collins' letter about the "drunken idiots" in the Preakness infield ("Behavior at Preakness considered a disgrace," May 25), I did some arithmetic and estimated that with admission fees, money bet at the infield windows, food, drink, and souvenirs those revelers spent more than $2 million at Pimlico.

They also spent money at local hotels and merchants.

The Preakness is much more to this city than just a day of horse-racing. Having sat in the Preakness infield several times, I know that everyone isn't there to make a fool of himself.

Sure, the infield is a big party. But given the struggling state of the horse racing industry in Maryland, if the infield revelers chose to throw their parties at home or go to a bar, as Mr. Collins suggested, I doubt there would be a Preakness.

Michael Summers, Ellicott City

`Our Daily Bread' move may displace homeowners

My husband and I reside on Brentwood Avenue, on a block the city apparently intends to turn over to the Our Daily Bread soup kitchen.

We have rented this house for almost 41 years. Just this year, God has made it possible for us to buy this, our first house.

Now we've been told that we could be forced out to make room for this soup kitchen.

Where is the justice? Don't we have any say in this matter at all?

Mary V. Young, Baltimore

Church shouldn't work with pro-choice backers

I've read that the Archdiocese of Baltimore and Catholic Charities view the move of "Our Daily Bread" as a win-win situation.

But many of us pro-life Catholics view it as a lose-lose situation. Why? Because some of the same people and groups who supported pro-choice candidates in the last election are backing the soup kitchen's move financially.

How can church leaders say to their flock, "do not support this culture of death," but also take money from supporters of that culture of death?

Alan Read Wildt, White Hall

To avoid war and rape, simply share the wealth

In a recent letter, Dan Lynch argued that future popes should accept abortion to relieve population pressures that can lead to ethnic strife ("Population explosions prompt ethnic hostilities, May 10).

But I don't think this will happen soon. Catholicism is based on Jesus Christ. Born in a cave to a 15-year-old girl who was pregnant by someone other than her husband, Jesus would have been a perfect candidate to be aborted.

The way to avoid pregnancies caused by soldiers raping women is not to allow abortion but to avoid wars.

To avoid wars, we should avoid such desperate economic conditions as great wealth surrounded by unbearable poverty. The key is simply to share the wealth.

Tim Kuhn, Millersville

Stop the suffering our bombs are causing

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