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Maybe Baltimore is not the best place for Preakness

As a resident of Baltimore County, I am just as passionate about the Preakness Stakes as any citizen of Baltimore City. Naturally, I appreciate and support sincere efforts to keep the Preakness in Baltimore and preferably at Pimlico. Nevertheless, I will not permit my passion for keeping the Preakness in Baltimore to stand in the way of the bold reality of the situation. Namely, neither the city or the state is able, at this point, to offer a viable and/or financially responsible plan to keep the Preakness at Pimlico. The sooner this glaring reality is accepted and understood, the better for Baltimore.

The next best thing to keeping the Preakness in Baltimore is keeping the Preakness in Maryland. However, it appears from various reports by local news outlets that some city politicians have taken the position that if Baltimore cannot have the Preakness, then Maryland cannot have it. Indeed, in spite of this, nature will only extend and prolong the city’s suffering and waste precious time that is needed to get the city back on the road to economic recovery and prosperity. Recently, Mayor Catherine Pugh has resorted to initiating personal attacks on track ownership, filing lawsuits and otherwise denying the inevitable.

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Rather than resorting to such negative tactics, why not negotiate with track management, in cooperation with the state, so that the state can potentially acquire the Pimlico property and prepare swift and prudent plans to develop the property? It is essential to reinvigorate the surrounding community before even more economic hardship is inflicted upon the west side of Baltimore. There are numerous prospects for the future of the Pimlico property. While the expansion of Sinai Hospital is already being considered, the state and the city should consider Pimlico for the new site of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, expansion and/or relocation of certain departments of the University of Baltimore, and many other opportunities. I urge city lawmakers to replace the negative energy with economic dynamism with the goal of leading the city to a quicker recovery.

Robert Hunt, Baltimore County

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