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Greening the new arena

Loads of comment came in on Friday's column on the new arena and  Sunday's column taking things a big step further with my advocating of a state-of-the-art "green" arena for Baltimore.

Thoroughly enjoyed your concept and article about the opportunity before Baltimore to make another major national impact with a green approach for a replacement to 1st Mariner!! It has moved me into wanting to do something to help it (not something I'm usually inclined to do). Can you suggest ways to help encourage the right powers-to-be to take a long, hard and sincere effort at going green? Political (city, county, state), private sector......I would like to make my voice heard and maybe influence some family and friends to get the word out. Thanks again for a wonderful idea!     -- Steve & Marianne Davies, Bel Air, MD

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DR: Thanks for the note, Steve and Marianne. Here's what you do: Compose a letter supporting a green arena and send copies to Gov. O'Malley, Mayor Dixon and M.J. Brodie, the president of Baltimore Development Corp. Consider writing a letter to the editor of the Sun too.

The "greening" of a new arena is the only way to go. Your suggestions were realistic and you proved that each suggestion was achievable. Like you, I feel very strongly in reducing my carbon footprint and bringing about positive environmental change.  I have changed my lifestyle to reflect the importance of protecting our environment.   I don't want this to be an idealistic dream; this is a vision that can be achieved and I don't want the people of Baltimore to have to settle for anything less.  My next step is to contact both the mayor and the governor.   -- Felicia Stolusky

You're right.   Baltimore has got to stop thinking small.   This defeatist attitude that
the city can't support another sports franchise is nothing short of cowardly.   Remember
the attitude that the NFL was NEVER returning to Baltimore?   If Memphis,  Oklahoma City,
and other small markets can attract an NBA franchise, why can't Baltimore, especially now
that people from the suburbs do come downtown, which was not the case in 1973 when the
Bullets moved to Landover.   I'm sure you realize that cities like Indianapolis and Cleveland have built two new arenas since Baltimore opened the old Civic Center in 1962 which was functionally obsolete the day it opened.   So what is Baltimore waiting for?  -- Joe Pantaleo, Brookpark,  OH

We could not agree with you more that this facility presents an incredible opportunity to not only meet the requirements of the Green Building Legislation in both the city and the State, but also to serve as an example of how a public facility can operate responsibly.  Heck, it can even be used to educate the public about how buildings actually become "green,"  what that means, why that should actually matter to them, and perhaps how they can incorporate some of these features into their own homes and businesses, without too much cost or trouble.   The costs of green are inappropriately maligned - it's not much of an argument to say that the 2% increase in cost is not worth the 30% energy saving, or the 20% water saving, or the reduction in landfill, or the improvement in health status....
And as much as the environmental movement has reached a tipping point over the past 12 months, particularly in the building industry, there are still too many nay sayers and non believers, and there are still a great number of people who don't even know that there is a very real crisis lurking a round the corner, and that it IS going to affect them right where they live and work and play.  The environmental challenges we face are not someone else's problem anymore.  If the arena is designed by a visionary architect,  it could be built with consideration to every detail, from incorporating every scrap of metal and bolt that can be re-used, to having non toxic paints and fabrics, low flow or waterless urinals, solar energy.... and as each step progresses, the developers and owners could work with the city to make it a learning opportunity for the public.   This certainly applies to many green initiatives, because so many people still think that these energy, water, toxic material issues are going to happen somewhere else, to someone else.    Arena's are supposed to bring people together for a common cause - why not bring them together at the very beginning, as the building is being designed and the plans drawn up... we could start with day one of the design?
-- Lorraine Tunis Doo

A green arena should be a no-brainer  for any public funded contract.
-- Bob Kramer


Article could not have been more on target! Every observation...spot on! From a Baltimore native who loves Baltimore, lives in LA and who has spent time in just about every major city in the US. -- Alan

I am not a Baltimore native. Moved here two years ago to attend law school in DC. Had no plans to stay here at all. But NOW I'm looking at condos in Harbor East and planning all the ways to dump my money in Baltimore...this is a great city...with awesome potential, and even as a newcomer my heart beats fast thinking about where this city is going...  -- Nikkiyah J. Williams

I'm a 50 year old Baltimorean. Grew up in Don'tDock and I currently live in Carroll County. I love Baltimore and have watched it change from an Industrial wasteland to a thriving metropolis. I left town in 76 when I joined the Marine Corps and upon my return in '80 I was floored. The City needs this new arena. Not for the billionaires to use as a bargaining chip but for the rest of us that need other forms of entertainment. With today's technology this could be a true state of the art arena. Pool? If I'm not mistaken didn't they put a temporary indoor pool in for the Olympic trials? How many first rate concerts can be held in a large arena off I-95. NCAA basketball? The circus. Ice skating. Regional and national and Olympic events as well as the ever-popular Disney on Ice and don't forget Sesame Street. Republican and Democratic national conventions. Arena Football. The Blast, if Ed Hale decides to stay. Indoor Lacrosse. Supercross and Monster truck. Don't forget the X Games. . . . . The key is to do it right. Build an Arena that is flexible and can change to meet the demand. Baltimore has a proven track record on urban revitalization. This could be the next jewel.
-- M. Scott Jones, Petroleum Service & Installation, Inc., Frederick

As a young Baltimorean who has spent the last six years in Atlanta, I often wonder why quite frankly Baltimore isn't a bigger better city. I keep coming back to the lack of an audacious vision. It's as if we feel that we don't belong at the table with other major league cities. "Small-Think" is   why we don't have a real metro, why our skyline lacks vertical height and why most people overlook a great city for other cities in the northeast.  "Small-Think" has ingrained itself into the city's fabric ever since the Great Baltimore Fire. Both Atlanta and Chicago had Great Fires with the latter reemerging as a major international city and the former (Atlanta) becoming a major domestic city. With a new arena Baltimore has an opportunity to really reemerge on the national field. I hope that it is daring in design and symbolic of the new Baltimore. I hope that the mayor, the city council and the Annapolis legislators as well as Baltimore residents won't compromise on the size, design or location of the new arena.  -- Julian Jackson

I confess that when construction started downtown around six or seven years ago  (BEFORE the rehab of the Hippodrome Theater) on Eutaw street to build those condos on top of a parking garage around the corner from University of Maryland Medical Center, I remember thinking, "Who would want to live on top of a parking garage in this part of town?"  I was totally wrong.  Now that whole corridor is hopping. The little coffee shop (Kirby's) that serves all the medical personal on Redwood Street is more than thriving, in spite of the installation of a Starbucks practically across the street. Things have changed for the better. -- Joane Stato

In 1962, we built the largest public arena in a major league city on the east coast south of New York. We got an NBA team and a team in the highest minors of hockey when there were only six NHL teams. But...we built it 3,000 seats too small and lost out on NHL expansion just five years later.  You never know what is going to happen...but you need to be prepared.  -- Bob Leffler

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