Regarding Robert McCartney’s Dec. 18 Metro column, “Hopkins should respect wishes of Liz Banks”:
My family moved into a new development near Elizabeth Beall Banks’s Belward Farm in Montgomery County 35 years ago. We would pass the farm several times a day as we went about our lives. We came to know Mrs. Banks (that’s the name we all used) from afar. We saw her tending to and mowing her fields — often by herself. We admired her work ethic and her dedication to maintaining the natural beauty of her land.
As time passed, we cheered for her as she fought to hold on to Belward in the face of rising taxes. We celebrated her gritty determination to save the farm from “the developers.” We cheered the agreement she struck with Johns Hopkins University as the salvation for her dream for Belward and as a victory for the common woman.
Now, as Mr. McCartney related, Johns Hopkins might trash that dream by building on Belward Farm the very thing that Mrs. Banks dreaded and thought she had avoided when she sold her land to the university 22 years ago. The university has plans for a “dense cluster of buildings,” including some high-rises, many of which would be leased to other parties, according to Mr. McCartney. Mrs. Banks’s heirs told him that she desired a “leafy, academic satellite campus.”
Mr. McCartney was correct in his assessment. Mrs. Banks was, indeed, hoodwinked. But she was not alone. Johns Hopkins also hoodwinked me, my family and many others who admired and celebrated the life and desires of Elizabeth Beall Banks.
F. Joseph Garner, Gaithersburg