Letters to the editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 14, 2006

Dismaying news on Rouse Parkway

I can understand how some would like to honor the memory of James W. Rouse, the founder of Columbia, but I am dismayed by the news that the section of Route 175 between U.S. 29 and Interstate 95 is to be renamed as the Jim and Patty Rouse Parkway.

The inclusion of the section of Route 175 between Thunder Hill Road and Tamar Drive in the renaming ignores a dark chapter in the history of Columbia: the realignment of the highway to cut through Blandair (the Smith farm) when it was well-known that Nancy Smith wanted to preserve the farm intact for posterity.

In the 1966 General Development Plan for Columbia, the road connecting Interstate 95 and Columbia Town Center bypassed Blandair. No public discussion of the realignment had been held, and Nancy Smith learned of it only when surveyors set up in one of her fields. Miss Smith's subsequent effort to fight the realignment was futile, nearly destroying her dream of preserving Blandair.

If a section of Route 175 is to be renamed in honor of Jim and Patty Rouse, then it would be inappropriate to include the section between Thunder Hill Road and Tamar Drive.

Byron C. Hall Jr. Centerville, Ohio

The writer is the Chairman of the Blandair Foundation.

Give police a break on housing costs

I am in favor of the Howard County Council approving a bill allowing the Police Department to create a program to encourage landlords to offer free or reduced rent to officers in apartments and certain communities ("Police housing measure gets OK," The Sun, May 5). I think it is an idea that is long overdue.

As a former law enforcement officer, I lived under such a program over 30 years ago in Prince George's County. It allowed my family the opportunity to save enough money to eventually buy a house in Prince George's County, where we lived for seven years.

So you see it is nothing new. But is new to Howard County. We need to move into the 21st century.

In an environment that does not allow the professional services (police and fire) to afford housing in the county, a reduced-rent program would be very beneficial to the officers. It would allow them to save some money to be able in the future to potentially buy an affordable house in Howard County.

It would be beneficial to the respective departments to attract talent to the county in the areas where we need it most, public safety. Apartment complexes and communities near the apartments would also benefit by having a police presence.

The County Council is on the right track and county executive candidate Ken Ulman is on target in addressing the need for us to attract and retain police officers in the county.

The management of the bill is very easy and not complicated, as one County Council member indicated; it has worked in the past and will work in the future. I am an example of how the program worked.

Nathaniel "Nat" Alston Jr.

The writer is president of the Horizons Group LLC.

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