When I opened The Post recently and saw that Hecht's was promoting a vacuum cleaner sale, I thought it might be a good time to retire our family's aging sweeper. But when I read the fine print, I discovered I would have to venture far out of Silver Spring to buy one because Hecht's Silver Spring store was not participating in the sale. A salesperson told me there wasn't enough space.

When our 22-month-old daughter jumps at the mention of ice cream, my wife and I have to trek to Takoma Park to find a parlor and a bench or table suitable for eating a cone or sundae.

Such routine excursions illustrate how dreary and substandard Silver Spring's downtown has become and will remain if developer Lloyd Moore is not permitted to proceed, within constraints, to revitalize the blocks surrounding the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road.

I used to live in Houston and I know how developers can ruin but in some cases help neighborhoods. I have read the pros and cons of this debate, and I am convinced that the modest risks associated with Mr. Moore's plan seem a very small price to pay to lure class retailers to downtown Silver Spring.

Let's allow Mr. Moore to proceed now, while there is still enough room in the right locations. I am tired of Takoma Park jimmies and "imported" dustbusters.

JIM PIEROBON Silver Spring