Speak Out

SPEAK OUT

April 08, 2009

Residents of Mount Washington and other nearby neighborhoods have known for years that the curtain might one day fall on Pimlico Race Course for good. But the prospect of razing the vast track property in favor of a shopping center is truly alarming ("Suitor wants to raze Pimlico," April 3).

The recession has made it clear that we already have excess retail capacity. Any effort to build and lease a new shopping center at Pimlico would likely drag on for years and face considerable trouble attracting quality tenants.

I hope city officials and Gov. Martin O'Malley will take a firm hand in guiding any future use for this property if the racetrack is truly doomed.

The last thing we need is an eyesore development project.

Amy L. Bernstein, Baltimore

I don't know if I was more amused or dismayed by The Baltimore Sun's editorial on slots and horse racing ("Racing saga," April 5). It called gambling revenues a "mirage," the promise of slots "iffy" and the future of the Preakness "fuzzy."

What the editors fail to mention is that the paper supported this misbegotten slots scheme during the campaign. The endorsement came despite the obvious and enormous flaws in the plan and a faltering gambling industry.

The Sun played an important role in bringing this fiasco to Maryland.

Aaron Meisner, Baltimore

The writer is a former chairman of StopSlots Maryland.

The Baltimore Sun is absolutely right in calling for the state to make sure that the Preakness remains in Maryland ("Racing saga," editorial, April 5). It's not simply one of America's great sporting events but part of our unique identity - too much of which has been eroded lately.

When the Baltimore Opera Company folded, we lost one of the nation's great regional opera companies. Museums and theaters are struggling to cope with diminishing grants. And the General Assembly will soon vote on incentives to save Maryland's film industry from competition from other states.

Even after stories about Baltimore such as Hairspray and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button were "relocated" to Toronto and New Orleans, respectively, the legislation is reportedly in for a battle.

As our cultural lifestyle slips away, and with it the image we project to the world, so too does the appeal of visiting, conducting business and living in Maryland.

Michael A. Gray, Baltimore

It was disheartening to read, in the same week, that our city might lose both Pimlico Race Course and the Senator Theatre. Have we lost all sense of community and identity?

Growing up in Baltimore during the 1960s, we had icons such as these to provide us with some sense of community, to help us identify our city as unique and to give us some hope of commonality. We would gather at these community watering holes to celebrate our Baltimore-ness.

Sadly, and to our great shame, our city is awash in crime and poverty, and I support directing resources first to help those most in need. But that should not be our only lasting legacy.

We should also support directing resources and legislation to prevent the loss of our identity.

L. Rose Kaiser, Baltimore

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