Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 05, 2004

UB's approach to Odorite issue irks neighbors

The Sun's article on the Odorite building protest missed several key points that further explain the opposition to University of Baltimore President Robert L. Bogomolny's plan to raze the historic 1915 structure ("50 rally to protect Odorite building," March 28).

For example, reporter Mary Gail Hare quoted a UB official claiming that the university is "committed to the process," but did not describe how the university avoided submitting plans to the state, ignored exploring feasible alternatives (of which there are many) and spent $200,000 on design plans without engaging with the appropriate stakeholders (such as the Maryland Historic Trust and neighborhood groups).

Moreover, the article correctly identified the Maryland Advisory Council on Historic Preservation as being opposed to the university's plan. But the article did not mention that the advisory committee unanimously voted to oppose the demolition of the building.

Finally, the article fails to mention the viable financial and functional alternative to UB's plan. Baltimore Heritage obtained plans from a Washington architecture firm that fulfill every need of UB's proposed building and can be built at an equal or lesser cost ("New plan would save Odorite building," Jan. 12).

My community is not opposed to construction of a UB student union and knows that a healthy university equals a healthy neighborhood. But my community opposes the bull-headed manner in which the university has gone about its efforts.

It is inherently undemocratic that the private citizens of Mount Vernon continue to go through the additional administrative, financial and construction hurdles to renovate their properties in a historically respectful manner while a state institution is able to step out of the process.

James T. Reeves

Baltimore

The writer is a member of the development committee of the Mount Vernon-Belvedere Association.

Reusing landmark is a cheaper option

In The Sun's article on the rally to protect the historic Odorite building, representatives of the University of Baltimore suggest that preserving the structure as part of a new student center would cost more than demolishing it ("50 rally to protect Odorite building," March 28).

This argument is untrue and was rejected by the Maryland Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

In January, the Clark Construction Group Inc. provided a cost estimate to construct a student center designed by Davis Buckley Architects that reuses the historic building and meets all of the university's needs. The estimate, $12.5 million, is actually hundreds of thousands of dollars less than the current demolition-based proposal.

As a state institution, UB has a duty to be fiscally responsible.

Saving the Odorite building would be good for the Mount Vernon neighborhood and good for Maryland taxpayers.

Richard Chambers

Baltimore

The writer is a member of the board of Baltimore Heritage Inc.

Keep Federal Hill vista uncluttered

"It's the perfect incline. It's like God created it for a sign" was offered as reason to erect 12-foot-high letters spelling out "BALTIMORE" on the face of Federal Hill ("A name to look up to," March 30).

Excuse me if I remember that Federal Hill is not one of God's wonders, but a man-made elevation. It is, nevertheless, a stunning backdrop to the Inner Harbor. Why tacky it up with a billboard?

The glory of the vista requires that it remain uncluttered.

Elonzo Dann

Baltimore

Stop the spiral of housing costs

The Sun's article "For many in middle class, home isn't where the job is" (March 31), really hit home with me - so to speak.

I think it is a shame that the true heroes of our state - the firefighters, teachers, police officers and other hard-working, working-class individuals are unable to live near their places of employment.

How has this happened? Is Maryland becoming the next New York City? Something must be done to control the cost of housing, which has spiraled out of control.

Dean Scannell

Perry Hall

Pediatricians can aid in postpartum woes

Laura Vozzella's heart-wrenching, honest and at times remarkably funny story of her own postpartum psychosis illustrates why, as a psychiatrist and former pediatrician, I love caring for these patients ("Unexpected Journey," March 28).

Medically, the condition is as serious and therapeutically challenging as they come. The stakes are high: the well-being of a young woman, her newborn baby and an entire family. Yet, as Ms. Vozzella's memoir poignantly reveals, there is ample reason for hope. And hope - along with medication, psychotherapy, hospitalization and sometimes electro-convulsive therapy - can be a potent and essential ingredient in treatment.

Ms. Vozzella also sends a crucial message to pediatricians, who usually meet with new mothers soon after their deliveries for health maintenance visits for their newborn children, even before they return to their obstetricians for the postpartum checkup.

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