Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 19, 2006

Changes coming to Hampstead

Far too often, the state transportation budget has been raided for other priorities. I want to thank Gov. Ehrlich and Secretary of Transportation Robert Flanagan for protecting our transportation funding and for awarding Hampstead monies needed to do the engineering for a major streetscape project.

The allocation of roughly $750,000 moves us closer to the goal of rebuilding our Main Street quickly after the Hampstead Bypass is constructed.

When I started as a town councilman, we had an ambitious agenda - bring residential growth under control, update our water system, build a police station, expand our park system, save the old school, construct the Hampstead Bypass and revitalize Main Street.

With groundbreaking on the bypass coming in a couple of months, the only major goal remaining is to rebuild our Main Street. We have already taken some important steps downtown by restoring an old building into our new police station and saving the old school.

After we move the heavy traffic onto the Hampstead Bypass, we reclaim our downtown for the community.

Revitalizing Main Street involves more than new sidewalks and streetlights. We need to address the structural problems of a road that was first carved out of the wilderness nearly 200 years ago. We also need to ensure the work does not disrupt our thriving downtown businesses and residents to make the process and the end result something we can all celebrate.

When I spoke with Maryland State Highway Administration District Engineer Dave Coyne, he had very high praise for Hampstead. His compliments come as no surprise. We have an outstanding town council and municipal staff and we had the foresight to develop a revitalization plan years in advance.

Town manager Ken Decker has done a great job and played an important role in our successes, including the funding for the bypass and the award of the streetscape engineering money.

During the past decade, I have attended many events like Hampstead Day or the local Business Expo where people told me we would never save the school or see the bypass. While there may have been a few naysayers, the majority of our community never lost faith. I want to thank the people in Hampstead who consistently believed we could do what some thought impossible.

Haven Shoemaker

The writer is mayor of Hampstead.

Hiltz letter raises questions

Mr. Hiltz's letter to the editor, ("School Board helps impoverished kids") amounts to a position paper on educational changes that he has slated for the identified 2,350 poverty-stricken Carroll County children.

[Thomas G. Hiltz is president of the Carroll County School Board.]

His statement, "We must turn money away when it requires us to continue to implement programs that are ineffective" is alarming. Red flags go up.

What programs are slated for cutting? What is the measure of effectiveness of a particular program? Is there anyone outside the school system advocating for this group of children that has expertise in the problems that they face? Are any of these children members of a minority, such as children for whom English is a second language?

In a county that values its independence, attention must be paid when positions such as Mr. Hiltz's are made public. Finally, is there any connection between his letter and the school board public schools budget hearing?

Susan F. Keller Finksburg

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