April 30, 2006

Fort Smallwood plans carry risks

Thanks for our elected officials, Sen. Phil Jimeno, Del. Joan Cadden and County Councilman Ronald C. Dillon Jr., who all agreed that people should be heard before they go ahead with the boat ramp in Pasadena.

Mr. Jimeno and Mrs. Cadden, asking for an advisory committee to discuss this issue, were ignored.

Most of the people who I talk with are pleased with the improvements made at Fort Smallwood Park and most do not complain about having a fishing pier. But pulling boats down a two-lane highway that has no other access off the peninsula could cause safety hazards and hurt business. If the boats come off of the trailer many times you will need a crane to put it back on.

[Parks director] Dennis Callahan said Fort Smallwood the park has been there for years. This is true, but Fort Smallwood Park was not as nice as it is now, which will draw more people to it. Also, we did not have two 18-hole golf courses and the addition of 300-plus homes. I have been at many meetings and have written in to this paper before about the safety down on Fort Smallwood Road. We have 2 large catering facilities, 4 marinas, 2 yacht clubs, 3 large restaurants, 3 bars and a large elementary school, as well as a maintenance yard for the Board of Education and 3 parks, and 2 golf courses and Hancock's Resolution, how much more can you put in on a dead end road? We had a plan with the state, when I was in the House of Delegates, to put a bypass road in. I also tried to have them build a little annex at the golf course to hold a fire truck and an ambulance. You can see by the nature of what we have down here and the addition of the new homes that we do need some emergency equipment. This is a disaster waiting to happen, if we do not get another way out.

There is nothing wrong with a public hearing when this will affect so many people. Thank you again, to the elected officials who think the people should be heard and agree that this is about safety not politics.

W. Ray Huff Pasadena

The writer represented District 31 in the House of Delegates.

Place horse park in Crownsville

I am writing in response to the article concerning the Crownsville Hospital Center site ("Nonprofits face eviction in Arundel," April 8).

Since the Maryland Stadium Authority seems determined to place a horse park in Anne Arundel County, it could provide the county and state with a tangible service: The authority could pay for the cleanup of the hospital grounds, a mere $25 million.

This site could be obtained for a song, and no federal law would need to be "tweaked," no fragile stream to consider. The utilities are going to need to be updated anyway.

Thirty-four buildings need to be demolished, which would give the authority ample space to place barns and steeplechase and practice rings on the 648 acres. The buildings that remain can be used for office space. It would be a real community service to offer the nonprofits space back there as well.

Crownsville is at the center of many urban areas and would be a major draw for any events that the Maryland Stadium Authority may schedule in its "covered arena," no matter the current number of seats.

The main entrance of the horse park could be located on Interstate 97, which would alleviate congestion on Generals Highway on many weekends.

That site is nearer to Annapolis and its often-mentioned 9,000 hotel rooms -- Mayor Ellen Moyer should be pleased that it is nearer to the land that she wants to use for horse trails.

Crownsville also is so close to Crofton that the businesses there would cash in on the restaurant trade.

This seems to me like a "win-win" situation.

Emily S. Marshall Gambrills

Problems with our charter schools

The problems of our Anne Arundel charter schools are interesting. The concept is to create an additional school system supported by county taxes. Whatever goes into charter schools means that much less for the regular public school system.

Evidence across the country has shown that when these schools falter, they frequently become part of a private or religious system, thus violating our founding fathers' intention to separate church and state.

My colleagues on the County Council and the county executive were not supportive of my position in our dealings on the fiscal year 2006 budget. My position will be unchanged on the '07 budget.

Bill D. Burlison Odenton

The writer is the District 4 representative on the Anne Arundel County Council.

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