GEDCO is ready to proceed with Stadium Place

In response to the article "Group offers to show stadium project papers to skeptical officials" (Sept. 11), it is important to note that the Govans Ecumenical Development Corp. (GEDCO) is ready to begin construction on the Stadium Place site as soon as the Board of Public Works votes on the land price agreement.

GEDCO has been working on this development for four years, and has developed broad and deep support from foundations, community groups, congregations and public officials.

When completed, this affordable retirement community will offer seniors a home where they can age in peace, relying upon supportive services provided by a range of private and public programs.

An affordable assisted living center will provide medical care, and our partners, the YMCA and Union Memorial Hospital, will provide wellness programs for all residents.

More than 750 seniors on our contact list are waiting patiently for the opening of Stadium Place. This is an innovative and much-needed use of the Memorial Stadium grounds - and it is time for construction to begin.

To those who question if GEDCO and its partners can accomplish this task, we say move aside and let us begin.

The Rev. John R. Sharp


The writer is president of GEDCO.

Unlike in other communities, where the Baltimore Development Corp. and the mayor's office force unwanted development, the Govans Ecumenical Development Corp.'s Stadium Place project survived an arduous process that included all the surrounding communities and competing proposals.

It's time for the state to give its final approval and allow the project to proceed as planned.

The funding is there. GEDCO is waiting for the nod.

Myles Hoenig


The writer is president of the Waverly Improvement Association.

The city can't afford to pay ex-parks chief

At a time when the economy is in decline and the financial stability of the city is uncertain, how can the administration defend the continuation of salary and a free home for former parks director Marvin F. Billups Jr. ("Ex-parks chief, fired in July, still on city payroll," Sept. 11)?

Although Mr. Billups was fired for "poor performance," Mayor Martin O'Malley defends his action by stating this practice is "not uncommon" in private industry. Perhaps the mayor needs a reminder that he was elected to run a troubled and struggling city and not as a private sector CEO.

And, in a further insult to city residents, the mayor is reportedly considering appointing Mr. Billups to help run the Police Athletic League.

Would the mayor have us believe that someone deemed incapable of caring for the city's trees and grass is better suited to run an organization committed to the well-being of Baltimore's most precious resource - its children?

Lucy J. Bassin


Billups deserves another chance

As anyone who has had the opportunity to work with former parks director Marvin F. Billups Jr. knows, he is a man of intelligence, charm and kindness who has an unusual ability to work sensitively with others ("Ex-parks chief, fired in July, still on city payroll," Sept. 11).

Perhaps these factors are among those that inspired Mayor Martin O'Malley to behave with decency toward Mr. Billups immediately after his firing, and to contemplate his possible usefulness in some other city position.

Furthermore, Mr. Billups came to Baltimore as a man of fine reputation who was honored in his profession. It is not wasteful to ensure the reputation of the city as a place to work in the eyes of future people the mayor may wish to persuade to work here.

Rebekah Kennedy


Shriver didn't rely on his family ties

Contrary to the theme espoused by his opponents and echoed in The Sun's headline "For Shriver, Kennedy ties not enough in 8th District" (Sept. 12), Mark K. Shriver did not undertake public service as a hobby and he did not expect to be elected to Congress because of his family connections.

Everyone who has ever worked with Mr. Shriver or counted on him as an elected official or friend knows he is sincere and self-effacing and has been a hard-working and effective member of the House of Delegates who helped bring about valuable changes in state laws involving deadbeat parents, early childhood education and gun control.

And undoubtedly he will continue to work for the betterment of people in our state and in our nation, although regrettably it will not be in Congress next session.

Leslie S. Ries


Parental influence key to kids' success

Thank you for two excellent columns on parental involvement in a child's education and future (Susan Reimer's "Parental involvement key to teen's success," Sept. 3, and Raimonda Mikatavage's "Teaching path can lead child to bright future," Opinion Commentary, Sept. 3).

As a retired teacher and mother of two successful grown children, I know first-hand how important a parent's influence is in a child's school and career success. I would only add that parents should start early, long before their child enters school.

Young children (6 months and up) need to be read to daily and told daily how smart they are.

Time spent with your child pays off. In addition, it's fun to discover what neat people your children are.

Betty Hanyok


Reduce speed limit on Liberty Road

After reading of yet another fatal accident on Liberty Road in Milford Mill just west of the Beltway, I would note that the speed limit of 40 miles per hour on this road, with its ever-expanding commercial activity, is just too high ("Catonsville man killed, 7 injured in three-car Liberty Road crash," Sept. 9).

Most drivers push 50 miles per hour. People constantly make left turns into traffic while impatient drivers pass in the right lanes and others weave in and out of the lanes.

Why can't this speed limit be lowered to 35 miles per hour?

And how many more fatal accidents must we witness before our representatives listen?

Ruth Von Bramer


Likes the wry wit 'Boondocks' offers

I strongly disagree with the opinion of the writer of the letter "Replace 'Boondocks' with comic with wit" (Sept. 9).

I find Aaron McGruder's strip to be one of very wry wit that stops just shy of proselytizing (in the manner of "Doonesbury," for instance).

While I may not agree with all of the sentiments offered in the strip, I do appreciate its ironic look at our society.

Gloria Lewis


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