How Camden Station could have been revitalized years agoI...


October 03, 1999

How Camden Station could have been revitalized years ago

I agree with The Sun's editorial "Camden Station's lost decade" (Sept. 11). It's a disgrace that this beautiful structure has sat decaying for so long.

As early as 1988, I proposed to Chris Delaport, who then headed the Maryland Stadium Authority, the idea of moving Bo Brooks Restaurant to Camden Station.

In April 1994, the Babe Ruth Museum invited me to submit a proposal for a restaurant, as part of a joint venture the museum was putting together.

When the proposals were reviewed, Bo Brooks' was selected. The project never got off the ground, however, because funding for the museum's portion wasn't available.

The Maryland Stadium Authority asked me to submit another proposal in 1995. After spending the summer crawling around the station with architects and engineers, I submitted a proposal for a $1.5 million combination fine dining and traditional crab house restaurant.

Our intention was to restore the building to its original look (it was built in the mid-1800s) and make it the pride of Baltimore and a tourist destination. In August 1995 our proposal was again chosen.

After months without further action, Bruce Hoffman, the executive director of the Stadium Authority, informed me that Peter Angelos was not happy with the authority's choice and wanted to put a restaurant of his own in the station, serving traditional Maryland seafood.

Subsequently, Mr. Hoffman notified me that the Bo Brooks proposal was no longer under consideration. He said Mr. Angelos felt the odors from the restaurant would be offensive to Orioles fans.

I reminded Mr. Hoffman that our proposal addressed that issue by providing for an elaborate exhaust-washing system to remove all odors. He expressed his disappointment, but said the decision was out of his hands and final.

It was a natural: Baltimore, baseball and Bo's. Who was the real loser?

Herman J. Hannan, Baltimore

The writer is president of Bo Brooks Restaurant.

Moving back toward city to find a saner lifestyle

I read with interest and understanding The Sun's article about traffic driving Georgia suburbanites back into Atlanta ("Atlanta downtown rises again," Sept. 21).

I can relate to the frustrations described in the article. Five years ago, I made the move from Overlea to Harford County, which doubled my commute to downtown Baltimore from 25 minutes to 50 to 55 minutes.

Enduring traffic on Interstate-95 and waiting in long lines on secondary roads for traffic lights, I quickly tired of the traffic, the commute and the time it took from my personal life.

Why, I thought, should I live out in Harford County, with its increasing congestion, when I can live closer to work and leisure activities? And with more people moving to Harford County each year, I knew the situation would only get worse.

So, after six months, I decided to admit my error and move back closer to the city and I returned to Baltimore County.

It took more than a year to sell our house in Harford County and we sold it at a loss.

However, I feel I now have time back for myself and a more sane lifestyle.

Alan Warminski , Baltimore

New regulations needed to handle mega-churches

When will Baltimore County wake up to the fact that "mega-churches" do not belong in rural areas that lack the proper infrastructure?

The mega-church -- with such facilities as broadcast stations, health clubs, schools, bookstores and banquet halls -- is a recent phenomenon. These institutions have devastated rural areas throughout the nation in their search for large tracts of land.

Baltimore County's development regulations were developed years ago when such super-churches did not exist. These regulations need to be revised and new zoning laws formulated.

Rosalyn N. Roddy , Granite

Book Festival showcased Baltimore at its best

Kudos to all those involved in the Baltimore Book Festival in Mount Vernon.

My husband, our three young daughters and I attended on Sept. 25. We took the light rail in from the suburbs. Mount Vernon -- with its serene fountains, glorious architecture and glistening streets -- never looked better.

We thoroughly enjoyed the many exhibits. The festival was not just a celebration of books, but of music, multiculturalism and all that is good about the city.

To all those suburbanites who are squeamish about venturing into Baltimore, I suggest Mount Vernon on a pleasant afternoon. It doesn't get much better.

Jane Santoni Smith Towson

Is there anyone who attended the Book Festival who doesn't think it would be wonderful if Mt. Vernon Place were always closed to traffic?

Leslie Starr, Baltimore

Dirt roads are part of the country's charm

When I read "Outer areas get wealth of residences" (Sept. 26), I was disturbed by the comment of a former Towson resident who relocated to Carroll County, that "there's no charm in a dirt road."

I attribute my love of nature and conservative views to those 90 miles of dirt roads in Carroll County. Lifelong friendships develop driving those roads, taking in the scenery.

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