Readers Respond


August 24, 2009

Beans & Bread director disputes claims about project

While we respect that Deirdre Hammer is entitled to her own opinion regarding the Beans & Bread Project, we believe it is important to correct the gross misstatements of the facts presented in her August 21st letter to the editor.

Contrary to Ms. Hammer's statement that 13 associations don't find the project "to be a welcome expansion," the fact is that there are currently only two associations on record with the zoning board, one of which is Ms Hammer's group, in opposition to the project. Furthermore, the resident association that immediately borders Beans & Bread and represents 600 households has submitted a letter of support for the project. In addition, four neighboring associations are represented at the table in the ongoing mediation process in which St. Vincent de Paul (SVDP) is participating.

Contrary to Ms. Hammer's statement that the project's cost is $662 per square foot, the fact is that the project is projected to cost $190 per square foot for construction and $261 per square foot for total development, including acquisition of new property.

Contrary to Ms. Hammer's statement that SVDP paid three times the appraised value for the building where it plans to put its addition, in fact SVDP obtained an appraisal at the time of purchase that supported the market value it paid.

Contrary to Ms. Hammer's statement that this facility addition is a major expansion that will result in car traffic and parking problems, the project will result in one additional staff person at Beans & Bread, parking is plentiful on the streets around Beans & Bread, and our clients all arrive on foot.

Contrary to Ms. Hammer's statement that the project was misrepresented in SVDP's funding application; SVDP has always consistently stated that this project's purpose was to better serve its existing clients by increasing its day resource area.

Contrary to Ms. Hammer's statement that SVDP broke its promise to create 90 seats in the new facility in 1996, those seats were in fact created and still exist today.

Fells Point, historically and currently, has a significant proportion of the homeless population. Beans & Bread has been serving the hungry and homeless for over 30 years in the Fells' Point community, 17 years at its current location, and it continues to be an effective resource to reduce the number of homeless individuals in our streets. In the last two years alone, Beans & Bread Center has placed 106 homeless individuals into permanent housing. SVDP looks forward to continuing to work with community representatives through mediation to make every possible effort to address community concerns about this project resulting in a facility that will enhance Beans & Bread's ability to continue to be a leading resource in Baltimore City's efforts to reduce homelessness.

Lisa Knickmeyer The writer is the project director of the Beans & Bread renovation & addition project.

Allowing Lockerbie bomber to die alone would be justice

What poetic justice it would have been to let Abdel Baset al-Megrahl die without seeing his family like the 270 people he murdered.

Alfred H. Funk, Timonium

Bill would hold companies responsible for their chemical waste

The slots construction delay caused by the deposit of toxic waste in South Baltimore is a perfect example of why industry in Maryland needs to use safe chemical alternatives that do not harm human health or lead to costly clean up efforts. The economic and health costs of toxic chemical disposal outweigh costs to business. Had the chemical industry been stopped from producing toxic chemicals in the first place, Maryland would not have to shoulder the costs of clean-up and be able to benefit from the revenue from slots much sooner. In order to prevent this kind of economic burden in the future, toxic chemical production needs to stop now.

The Kid Safe Chemical Act in Congress would hold chemical companies accountable to what they produce. The three Baltimore City Congressmen should make this bill a priority to protect the economic growth of the city.

Pamela Leibowitz, Reisterstown

American society is under attack by selfish citizens

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