Welcome to Chesapeake Beach

I am writing in response to Councilman Pat Mahoney's letter [Extra, Aug. 8].

The town of Chesapeake Beach, in cooperation with the State of Maryland, Board of County Commissioners and the Army Corps of Engineers, transformed a bankrupt, about-to-be-closed marina into what is today a vibrant center of town activity that has made possible many improvements in the town. These include a $3.6 million jointly funded Community Center, six boat ramps leased to the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for access to the bay, an immensely popular water park, 30 units of affordable housing, with 30 more units under construction and 16 units to follow, and a vitally needed permanent spoil disposal site for future dredging of the creek. The town also retained a little over three acres for future use.

As time has progressed, it has become abundantly clear that due to the popularity of all these amenities, additional improvements are logical and necessary. The improvements include: additional boat trailer parking for the boat ramps, more automobile parking, lighting of the ball fields, increased size of one of the ball fields to accommodate the Babe Ruth League, expanded tot-lot and playground areas, a new restroom facility with equipment storage capacity, additional bleachers, an electronic scoreboard and additional pavilions, all for public use.

The town . . . negotiated a buy-out on the 13 years remaining with DNR on the boat ramp lease. DNR also agreed to fund an additional $86,000 in improvements, thereby giving the town approximately $476,000 while giving ownership of the boat ramps to the town.

In an effort to create more parking closer to the Community Center, marina, ballfields, and water park, we decided to ask Calvert County to swap our unimproved three acres for an equal or similar amount of land on the east side of the ballfield. The town, using the funds from DNR, would improve the entire recreational area and leave approximately 60,000 square feet.

Many uses have been discussed for the future improvement, from an expansion of the water park to an enclosed Olympic-size pool for year-round use, etc. No decisions have been reached about specific improvements. However, it is the town's intention to ensure that a future improvement can one day be made. Presently, we do not have a specific proposal for the 60,000-square-foot area.

Just for the record, the existing ballfields are built upon a former spoil disposal site that is nothing more than sand from the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay. The town gave Calvert County the ballfield property and the land that the Community Center and water park are built upon. I believe the improvements would be consistent with the long-term plan for this area and would help solve problems that exist from the success and popularity of what we've "jointly" created. The Calvert County plan to light the ballfields where they exist today would be extremely shortsighted because it fails to deal with the acute parking problems and the soils underlying the site. The county has never offered, to my knowledge, to make any of the improvements we are suggesting. . . .

Our goal is to take the present facilities and complete them for public use as originally intended.

I would encourage all citizens to attend the public hearing this Thursday to learn more about our ambitious improvement plan. Your input is vitally important to the success of the project.

As a major town center in Calvert County, this town has had the "Welcome Mat" out for decades. Mr. Mahoney's comments stem from wanting to yank the same "Welcome Mat" that welcomed him here, to keep it from welcoming anyone else. When you enter this town, our pride is everywhere; from the landscaping, to the trees, our holiday lights program, to the Veterans Park that will be a reality very soon, creating a tremendous vista of the bay now preserved in perpetuity, to our new sidewalks and boardwalks. This town is not only alive and well but will continue to meet the challenges before us and as long as I am mayor of this town, the "Welcome Mat" will continue to be out in Chesapeake Beach!

GERALD W. DONOVAN

mayor

Chesapeake Beach

Calvert Needs More Business

I'd like to comment on the letter to the editor from Chesapeake Beach Town Council member Pat "Irish" Mahoney. His letter was concerning the proposed land swap that he feels would lead to an expanded water park in Chesapeake Beach.

Any request for the county to approve a land swap should first have the approval of the Chesapeake Beach Town Council and mayor. If the proposal does not have majority support from the elected officials of Chesapeake Beach, then I will not consider it. But, if the Town Council and mayor support the request for a land swap, then I'll consider approving the request. What Chesapeake Beach chooses to do with their land, including expanding the water park, is completely up to the Town Council and mayor if the land swap is approved. . . .

It was mentioned that four of the five county commissioners were swept into office on "these type of growth issues." Speaking as one of the four, I would like to say that I voted to fulfill my "slow growth" campaign pledge in regard to residential growth when I supported the 50 percent reduction in residential build-out in Calvert County. But I never pledged to oppose all commercial growth. In fact, Calvert County needs more commercial tax base. Calvert County cannot continue to rely so heavily on Baltimore Gas & Electric, our largest taxpayer. I've been working hard to try to make sure that BGE continues to pay the tax revenue that we've come to expect, but we must also work to diversify our tax base. . . .

While the Chesapeake Beach water park is government owned and operated, and not subject to property taxes, I feel it's important to clarify my position in regard to residential and commercial growth since the two issues sometimes get lumped together.

This county commissioner wants to work with the elected officials of Chesapeake Beach to make sure the citizens get the kind of town they want. I'm available to meet with any Town Council member at any time. So far, I've heard from Mayor Donovan, but I also look forward to hearing from the council members.

JOHN DOUGLAS PARRAN

Calvert County commissioner

Prince Frederick

Not Another Wal-Mart

Another unsightly Wal-Mart in our area? Please say it isn't true. I have lived in this area for more than six years and travel Route 210 every day to and from work. I would love to work in Charles County but unfortunately it seems the only businesses that the county attracts are retail. So, my husband, myself and countless other Charles County residents are forced to commute to Virginia and D.C. in search of professional, well-paying jobs.

Bringing another "superstore" to the area will only create more minimum wage jobs and take away from the small business owners. Traffic, congestion, accidents will increase.

The beautiful, peaceful countryside will be disrupted--trees felled, wildlife displaced, wetlands compromised--and for what: a 203,000-square-foot (almost 5 acres!), 24-hour-a-day, 50-lane checkout store? Accokeek will become another bottleneck just like Waldorf.

Look how long it is taking officials to agree on how to ease congestion on Route 301. If development on Route 210 is left uncontested and uncontrolled, we'll be faced with the same problems Route 301 has.

There are many shopping centers along Route 210 in Fort Washington with empty stores. Why not renovate them if it's more shopping residents think they need?

What this area needs are more public parks and services for the residents--not more shopping.

Please let elected officials know that we don't want or need another "superstore" in the area.

MICHELE INDERRIEDEN

White Plains

Knowing Right From Wrong

Whoa! What in the world is happening with our kids today?

Let's see, I think it started when Madalyn Murray O'Hair complained that she didn't want any prayer in our schools, and we said OK.

Then someone said you had better not read the Bible in school--the Bible that says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said, OK.

Remember Dr. Benjamin Spock, who said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem? And we said, OK, we won't spank them.

Then someone said that teachers and principals better not discipline our children when they misbehave. And our administrators said whoa, no one in this school better touch a student when they misbehave because we don't want any bad publicity, and we surely don't want to be sued.

Then someone said, let's let our daughters have abortions if they want, and we don't even have to tell their parents. And we said that's a grand idea.

Then someone else said, let's give our sons all the condoms they want, so they can have all the "fun" they desire, and we won't have to tell their parents. And we said, that's another great idea.

And then some of our top officials said that it doesn't matter what we do in private as long as we do our jobs. And we said, as long as I have a job and the economy is good, it doesn't matter to me what anyone does in private.

So now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with "we reap what we sow."

Whoa! What a concept!

HAROLD McDONALD

Port Republic

Swim Coverage Too Narrow

This comment is provided in response to the article titled, "Swim Meet Is a Relative Success" [Extra, Aug. 5].

I am the president of the Wildewood Marlin Swim Team, a nonprofit organization chartered to serve in the best interests of the children that swim on the team and of the Southern Maryland Swim League (SMSL). To be blunt, I found the article written by Andy Mendlowitz to be self-serving and not wholly representative of the league we promote and operate here in St. Mary's County. We are not affiliated or associated with the Chesapeake Bay Aquatic Club (CBAC) as the article implies. The training of swimmers in our league is accomplished solely through the dedicated, voluntary efforts of the parents and guardians of the children that make up our teams. It is just simply a matter of fact that some of the children swim competitively on the CBAC club at other times of the year. We provide them with a venue to continue swimming during their summer hiatus.

Secondly, meet scoring is secondary to everything that we do in the SMSL. During the competitive season, we do not even score the dual meets that we run. Leading the story off by emphasizing the score of the meet is insulting to all the teams in the league and inappropriate. Those scores are not even advertised during or after the meet on the day it occurs. The children in our league swim for the purpose of receiving instruction on the proper techniques and mechanics of the four competitive swim strokes and to have fun. We judge and officiate the meets simply to provide feedback to the coaches and swimmers on how well or poorly the child is performing the stroke.

Additionally, papers such as yours should act in the public interest and give equal treatment to all aspects of the story. There are more teams in the league besides Breton Bay and Town Creek. While they deserve the bulk of the press based on the results, the other teams worked equally as hard and did their very best in competition. Given the noncompetitive emphasis and charter of our league, you would have served the public good much more effectively by an evenhanded and informative report.

Wildewood will, most likely, host next year's event. I will make it a point to invite the Southern Maryland Extra back for another look-see and encourage you to write about the real story of sports and swimming in the SMSL: kids competing to the best of their ability, win or lose, and having fun doing it.

JAMES DIETZ

California

Consider Drivers When Repaving

I must voice my objection to what appears to be an experiment in trying to establish a new method of repaving roads. Route 301 just south of Route 6 has been under a repavement project for some time now. They first chewed up the old road in the southbound lanes for five miles before putting down a new surface. The northbound lanes are currently chewed up for the same five-mile length, and have been this way for about two weeks. This is too long a stretch to be traveling on such a rough surface, and I feel certain that the majority of people who have traveled this stretch would have much preferred that the road crews chew up shorter sections, and then put down the new surface, and continue in that manner until it is completed.

D. SIMMONS

Bel Alton