Forget about slots at Rocky Gap

November 18, 2010

In response to The Sun's editorial on Western Maryland slots ("Don't give up on Rocky Gap," Nov. 14): The better approach is to forget the site. There is a message when, for the second time, there was not a single submission. The site was a poor selection from the start.

Rocky Gap is not a resort. It is one of Maryland's premier campgrounds, which my family and I love. My former fellow delegate, Casper R. Taylor Jr., as a representative of Allegheny County and as speaker of the House, used his political muscle to have a lodge and golf course placed on parkland. It has been faltering.

The location is in a rugged mountain area. A harsh drive in the summer, hazardous in winter. With limited accommodations, what is the motivation for taking a five-hour drive, by-passing Charles Town's slots?

Immediately east of Rocky Gap is Green Ridge State Forest, whose history should be instructive. The Merten family of Cumberland in 1879 began purchasing land with grandiose dreams of development — orchards, villages, etc. Bankruptcy in 1917. The state purchased the land for Green Ridge. History may be repeating itself, with only a change of the actors.

History aside, a developer is attempting to put a 4,300-house development next to Green Ridge and is facing the same issues a casino developer would be facing — questions of water and septic capacities and putting thousands of cars in one of the last chance scenic places in Maryland. The project has gone to the same place as the Rocky Gap — nowhere. The area, as lovely as it is, is a jinx for big dreams and should be left alone.

Theodore Levin

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