Community activists have been right to oppose projects...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

June 23, 1999

Community activists have been right to oppose projects

The Sun's editorial warning community groups against opposing the proposed Ritz-Carlton hotel ("Not in anyone's back yard," June 14) ignored local history that shows community groups are not only usually right about what is best for their back yard, but the city as a whole.

Some examples of this are the American Can Co. building in Canton, the proposed bridge over Fort McHenry and the fight against the proposed interchange between Interstates 95 and 83.

The city's original plans for the American Can Co. site were to demolish the 100-year-old can-company building. Community groups fought that plan.

Today, the development that preserves the American Can Company building is a successful attraction, not just for Canton but for the city as a whole.

In the early seventies, residents of Locust Point opposed plans to build an I-95 bridge over Fort McHenry.

Their success in having the federal government build a tunnel instead of a bridge did benefit their back yard, but who can dispute that the entire city should be grateful to those who fought the bridge?

If the proposed interchange between I-95 and I-83 had become reality, portions of Federal Hill and Fells Point would have been wiped out, and a major highway interchange bridge would have been built across the Inner Harbor.

It is, then, hard to imagine that the rebirth of the communities of Federal Hill and Fells Point, and of the Inner Harbor as a whole, would have ever occurred.

The city benefited from community groups that blocked or altered all these projects.

I hope the Ritz-Carlton can address community concerns about the Propeller Yard s development, not just for the local community, but the whole city.

David R. Marshall, Baltimore

The writer is past president of the Federal Hill Neighborhood Association.

Protest against dump deserved more coverage

On June 7, about 70 Southwest Baltimore citizens went to City Hall to protest the planned expansion of a Potts & Callahan landfill near the Gwynns Falls trail.

They were concerned about noise, dust and pollution next to their homes and the new trail; their children's health; a possible drop in property values; and destruction of the neighborhood's peace and quiet.

I thank The Sun for printing Kevin Zucker's excellent Opinion Commentary column on this issue, "City Hall dumps on west side," (June 7). However, The Sun's coverage of the protest was disappointing -- only a photo in the Maryland section showing just a fraction of the demonstrators (June 8).

Citizens' efforts to save their neighborhoods and the environmental impact of a large landfill/dump deserved more extensive coverage.

Elke Straub, Baltimore

Not all residents oppose Essex highway extension

After reading Dennis O'Brien's article in The Sun on the hearing about extending Route 43 into the Essex area, I wondered if we were both at the same event ("Proposed Route 43 extension debated," June 17).

The article suggested that area residents spoke against the proposed extension and that the project's proponents were non-residents representing the business community. That is not what I heard.

While I attended the meeting (from 7 to 9 p.m.), 16 people spoke. Eleven supported and five opposed the extension of Route 43. Seven of the speakers identified themselves as residents and four of them favored the highway improvements.

Christopher B. Costello, Glen Burnie

The writer is grass-roots coordinator of Marylanders for Efficient and Safe Highways.

Falls Lake development isn't Smart Growth

Struever Bros., Eccles and Rouse Inc. should be commended for its visionary work on projects throughout the city. However, it's time it sees that every property isn't fit for development.

I am a lifelong city resident and see the concerns of residents in the Falls Road/Poplar Hill area ("As bulldozers loom, neighborhoods unite," June 12). Let's continue the prudent path of Smart Growth the state has outlined.

If the developer really wants to be a good neighbor, why not donate a portion of profits so this wooded oasis can be purchased by the community?

Robert H. Paul, Baltimore

Coverage of mayor's race needs to focus on issues

I would hope that The Sun would start emphasizing the mayoral candidates' platforms. It would be interesting to know, for instance, who plans to continue education reform and whether they would try to upgrade it.

Other issues very important to Baltimore include development in the Inner Harbor (how many hotels do we need?), housing renewal and recreation.

I don't need to know all the fine details, but I want to see that the candidates are taking these problems seriously.

It is a little late, I suppose, to have election finance reform in the city, but it would also be good to know who is giving money to whom.

Phyllis Sachs, Baltimore

Number of flag burnings is not what's at issue

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