August 17, 2008

County should reconsider triathlon

I am writing to you with hopes that Anne Arundel County will reconsider its denial of the Annapolis Triathlon permit. I understand the permit was denied because of opposition by local churches and businesses, and traffic safety concerns. I am writing to offer my support of the event.

This spring, I visited the Anne Arundel County Health Fair at Severna Park High School, and listened as the organizers spoke of how promoting good health is a priority with the county. Please do not forget that priority.

Extensive clinical and statistical research has identified many risk factors for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, falls, dementia and other life threatening health problems. While we cannot control genetics, common risk factors to all of the aforementioned problems are physical inactivity and obesity.

I have spent many hours cycling, running and swimming. I have discovered many trails and parks that the county offers. I cannot tell you how disappointed I am that the county not only denied the permits, but did so at such a late date.

Please consider alternatives to denying the permit.

Cindy Hoffman, Physical therapist, Severna Park

Triathlon decision came too late

I am writing as a frustrated and concerned registered voter, triathlete and citizen of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County about the county's recent denial of a permit for the bike portion of the Sept. 7 Annapolis Triathlon.

The safety of residents and those competing in the event should be paramount when looking at the course, and justifiably so. But why does it take five or six months to come to a conclusion about a portion of the event? It would seem that upon reviewing the course, these concerns would have been evident immediately. Additionally, the statement by county Chief Operating Officer Dennis Callahan about the "informal" survey indicating that area businesses were 100 percent against the event seems at odds with common sense.

Along the bike route, there are very few businesses that would be open Sunday morning, being that the bike portion would be nearly completed by 10 a.m.

Businesses are there to make a profit. An event that brings more than 1,000 people into the community for a weekend generally means an increase in revenue. With the economy the way it is, I would have thought that these "businesses" would have welcomed the additional revenue.

Since there was a poll completed, I would like to know which businesses were contacted and what their response was.

I attempted to contact County Executive John R. Leopold to voice my concern, and his assistant was toeing the line of being rude. I did not expect to be told that the decision had been made and that there was no need to get my name or phone number. I will attend the next County Council meeting to voice my concerns in person.

Ian Mattice, Annapolis

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