We were dismayed to learn that during the Montgomery County Council hearings week before last, one group of witnesses invoked the names of our stores to support their opposition to significant redevelopment of Silver Spring. We write to set the record straight: we strongly support the rejuvenation of downtown Silver Spring.

As Silver Spring retailers for a combined total of 102 years, we have been alarmed by the continued deterioration of our retail core. Our concern has intensified with the departure of Hecht's, which was our last major magnet for shoppers from the densely populated area that surrounds the downtown. Several small retailers have already failed, and it appears likely that more will follow.

We welcome revitalization of the Silver Spring retail core, which can only improve our business. If the downtown again includes major retailers such as department stores, and is again an attractive area for shoppers, our businesses will thrive and we will be able to better serve our customers. If Silver Spring is again full of life in the evenings and on weekends, we will prosper and those of us who live around the downtown will again be a part of a vital community.

The danger to small businesses such as ours is not major redevelopment, but the failure to redevelop now.

ARTHUR MEISNER President, Lipman's Art Shop RHODA LEE BURCHUK President, Dale Music YOSHIAKI ITOH President, Sakura Palace