Get Beyond the Music

What happened to all the support for National Harbor? Before anyone knew what was going to be there, you all were so supportive. Now you don't want upscale dining and shopping because it's affiliated with Opryland. First if we can grasp the fact that National Harbor is for tourists, then maybe we can start asking more important questions: Why with such a huge development with millions of tourists every year is there no talk of a Metro line? Where are the roads the construction vehicles are going to use, and how will they affect our already inadequate local roads? How clogged will the existing bridge be due to construction and the new bridge after it is built with the 12 million or more tourists on it? What will our air be like with all those vehicles? Will we be able to breathe? There are a lot more important issues besides the type of music you will hear and what kind of boots you wear!

Tonya Pometto

Oxon Hill

Metro to National Harbor

The National Harbor project being planned on the Potomac waterfront is a great idea and a great addition to Oxon Hill. I am totally supportive of the project, as I'm sure many others residing in this area are, too. I do have concerns, though, over the transportation issue and what will be done about it.

My concerns are the present problems with rush-hour traffic in the morning and in the evening close to the harbor site at Route 210, the Wilson Bridge, Route 295 and the potential traffic problems the harbor could pose. Another concern I have is access to National Harbor from the surrounding neighborhoods and what the Peterson Cos. plans to do about it.

Suggestions I have in mind are first and foremost the extension of Metrorail from Alexandria at the King Street Station to a "National Harbor/Oxon Hill Station" across the Potomac River. This line could start at an expanded King Street Station underneath the current station, which houses the Blue and Yellow lines, then across the Potomac River to the "Oxon Hill Kiss and Ride Lot" bordered by the Beltway to the north, Oxon Hill Road to the west and Route 210 to the east. This was obviously originally designed as a Metrorail station, but due to past objections to a Metrorail station being placed in this area, the plan was scaled back. With the imminent construction of the harbor, it will be greatly needed. This extension can be executed via a tunnel from King Street all the way to Oxon Hill or across a new Wilson Bridge. I think Oxon Hill residents and Southern Maryland residents should fight for a "National Harbor Station.'

Sean Jacob

Oxon Hill

Time to Sell Quality of Life

I have visited the hotel in Nashville. The gardens are based on themes based on plants and they provide a restful atmosphere for anyone who enjoys gardens. Anyone in Prince George's County who has concerns should take a drive and visit the hotel in Nashville. This hotel will bring major tourist dollars to the county along with leading the way for other quality businesses to locate at National Harbor. I have lived in the county since 1985. I watched Virginia kill the previous development due to building height. Virginia will continue to try and slow or stop National Harbor.

We are fortunate that we now have leaders who will fight for National Harbor.

I have worked in Northern Virginia, had the opportunity to move to Vienna, and we choose to live without traffic and remain in Prince George's County. It is time to sell and market our tremendous quality of life.

Janice McCullagh

Laurel

Need Upscale Project

I am glad that National Harbor resort is being built in Prince George's County. We need an upscale project in our county.

William R. Murray

Upper Marlboro

Tremendous Opportunity

I think it is about time something happens in Prince George's County that will be of some benefit to all the citizens. I think it is a tremendous opportunity for the county. I have been a citizen of the county since 1962, and I can hardly wait until this venture becomes a part of the landscape.

Fred B. Houston

Camp Springs

Sniffing Out Some Problems

No one has told the taxpayers of Prince George's County and Maryland what the price tag will be in public dollars for the so-called Opryland Hotel project on the Prince George's County side of the Potomac just down river from the Wilson Bridge. But the Prince George's Extra [Jan. 19] reports a sweeping series of other good uses for public money. The Extra says we have 37,000 addicts in the county, second only to Baltimore. We've learned time and again that our public schools right now are so under-funded, our teachers so over-worked, our resources so thin, that this county produces graduating classes only marginally prepared for the economic and social challenges of the new millennium.

Yet no sooner had school Superintendent Iris T. Metts announced her five-year vision for improving county schools last week, reports the Extra, than County Executive Wayne K. Curry (D) and many County Council members declared that there's not enough money to act on her plan.

Have they even told us how much of our public money they are willing to pump into Opryland? Dunno. But it's clear to me that talk of 12 million visitors to Opryland--with its self-contained, 2,000-room destination hotel and convention center--is a kind of political fantasy.

With the project's position beside one of the biggest bottlenecks in the eastern United States--the Wilson Bridge and Beltway--one wonders how the 12 million visitors touted by developers and politicians are supposed to come. I don't see folks driving in from Indiana to see the nation's capital, then hitting the Beltway for this treat. Too, Opryland will be directly in line with all landings and takeoffs from Reagan National Airport's longest and busiest runway--screaming jets just above the river daily from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m., under current regulations.

Another problem is more subtle and potentially threatening, however, to the conventioneer or Indiana family wanting to spend some quality time in Opryland. Missing throughout discussion of the developer's master plan and marketing material is the fact that Smoot Bay--the little man-made circle of water on which Opryland would be built--lies directly in the path of almost 390 million gallons of treated sewage water released daily by the Blue Plains treatment plant just upriver in Washington. That's more than two Kennedy Center-size loads of sewage water daily.

With the development of Alexandria's waterfront area into a mini-Georgetown in the 1980s, sewer operators were compelled in 1982 to shift the path of Blue Plains outflow from the Virginia side of the Potomac to the Maryland side--sending almost 100 percent of Blue Plains spill into Smoot Bay, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Environmental Protection Agency also has found that over a sample period of 10 months, the plant dumped up to 50 million gallons daily of partially treated raw sewage directly into the flow patterns leading to Smoot Bay. Moreover, during a hard thunderstorm and other downpours, sewers throughout the metropolitan area are designed to run raw sewage directly from your bathroom to the Potomac and other rivers. When the White House flushes a toilet during a downpour, for example, it flows right into the Anacostia. So, if I'm even close to getting this right, county and state politicians are going to spend an unknown amount of precious public money to help build Opryland under the flight path of National Airport and the sewage spill of Blue Plains. They think millions of Americans are going to beat a path to this over roads the U.S. Department of Transportation regards as dangerously overburdened.

The only way Opryland works, in my opinion, is if it is turned into a casino. Lots of suckers [go] for that kind of entertainment, and they don't know or care about the stinky water or the screaming jets while sitting in their gambling pit. Too, why else are so many gambling lobbyists registered in Annapolis? And why is so much gambling money going into the political war chests of so many county politicians?

Which leaves us residents to ponder the future. Why is public money being spent? Why is the natural resource of the river and shoreline given up for this? And if Opryland goes belly up in, say, 10 years, will the county executive, council members, governor and General Assembly members and congressional supporters pushing this thing be here to answer for their actions?

Ray Lane

Cheverly

The Prince George's Extra welcomes Letters to the Editor. E-mail to pgextra@washpost.com, fax to 301-952-1397 or write to Letters to the Editor, Prince George's Extra, The Washington Post, 14402 Old Mill Rd., Suite 201, Upper Marlboro, Md. 20772. Please include a daytime phone and your place of residence. Letters may be edited.