Letters to the Editor

Vol. 8, No. 28
July 13-19, 2000
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A Better Role for Parole

Dear Bay Weekly:

Another spectre is haunting Anne Arundel County: A monolithic Wal-Mart in Old Parole Plaza. It will be a failure of vision, a weakness of will, a monument to mediocrity.

Old Parole Plaza should become the Annapolis Transport Hub. It should be the place where the Orange Line from Washington, New Carrollton and Bowie meets the (something) rail to Severna Park, Glen Burnie and Baltimore. It should be the place where ‘ride-on’ jitney busses converge to deposit and receive commuters from all parts of the greater Annapolis area.

A big-box Wal-Mart as the center of the Parole Town Center really wins the planning booby prize. The Wal-Mart can go elsewhere, but the transport hub can’t. And just because the hub can’t be built for a while doesn’t mean the land can’t be preserved for it. Maybe state and federal transportation money can be marshaled to buy the land. The big question is simple: Does Anne Arundel County have the will to set aside this land for an essential future purpose?

A town center should be envisioned chiefly as a transport hub. This is, wonderfully, the way the Odenton Town Center is being set up. The Glen Burnie Town Center has gotten some urban renewal, but like Parole has shown little evidence so far of becoming a hub.

These town centers are Anne Arundel County’s chief planning task in the next few years. Will the county be up to it? Or will it allow the rise of another — and a particularly conspicuous — monument to its policy of throwing in the towel, to its letting the predatory developers do pretty much whatever they want?

In late 1998, a distinguished local architect commented that “the planning culture in Anne Arundel County is mediocre at best.”

Is it still?

—James A. Hoage, Severna Park

Galesville’s Missing Its Cat

Dear Bay Weekly:

Galesville has an unofficial greeter: a black and white Hemingway cat. He has six toes in the front and five in the back; Ernest Hemingway apparently collected these “mutants” in the Keys, hence the name. This cat is a very friendly and wonderful animal who follows everyone and walks from restaurant to restaurant for his daily treat. Pirates Cove gives him crab, Topside Inn gives him fish broth and a place to sleep, Steamboat Landing offers milk (warmed, of course, when it is cold outside).

Sadly, the last sighting of Boxer was Saturday, June 17. Our fear is that someone thought this incredibly cute cat was homeless and wanted to provide him with a place to stay.

All of Galesville is very upset. Everyone looks all over town while on walks, riding bikes, dining in the restaurants. So far no luck. He is definitely not an inside cat; he has roamed his whole life, and won’t be happy in someone’s house. He only came inside when it was very cold or very rainy, and then he would look at me as though he did me a big favor. Actually, he did.

We are terribly sad that he is gone, and I know he is missing his wonderful, magical existence as Galesville’s Friend of All Visitors. Perhaps a good samaritan has realized that this cat is better off outside. We all await his return with a big welcome home.

—Luuk Oleson, Galesville

Copyright 2000
Bay Weekly