Monday, December 18, 2006

Hinck Has Big Shoes to Fill

Dear West End NEWS,

This is my attempt to let my feelings be known as to the Eder-Hinck race. Both Mr. Eder and Mr. Hinck, I am sure, are excellent people. My being a Republican and an ardent John Eder supporter, Mr. Hinck will have to prove to methat he is as fine a representative to me as John Eder was.

John Eder did more for me than any other elected politician since Margaret Chase Smith did in 1972. Mr. Hinck, you have big shoes to fill. Please let them fit.

Grant Baker,
Danforth Street

Green Area to Become USM Parking Lot

To The Editor:

I have learned that, due to a housing development planned for the cornerof High and Danforth Streets (please note, I support that proposal), theUniversity of Southern Maine is planning to turn the green area attachedto its 68 High Street building into a parking lot for its Center for RealEstate, to make up for the parking that would be displaced by the housingproject. As someone who uses this green area frequently (through the generosity ofUSM), I think this action would be a tragedy for both the neighborhood andthe city.

I am aware that the university owns the property and has the right to dowith it what it wants. I am also aware of the severe lack of parking indowntown Portland. However, there arenumerous parking garages in downtown Portland, including one owned by theCity of Portland, on Spring Street, within one block of the Center forReal Estate. Perhaps USM could negotiate with one of these parkinggarages for discounted parking.

On the other hand, Portland is a city in flux, and every developmentdecision, however trifling it may seem now, will have consequences farinto the future. That is why I hope you reconsider this matter.

Increasingly, precious urban green space is sacrificed for the developmentof office buildings, housing and parking. We are all familiar with the Old Port parks that could have become amost tragic example of mistaken redevelopment in Portland. Rather than a scenic, picturesque oasis frequented by tourists, performers, office workers and others, those spaces could have become loathed concrete parking lots. I am sure that, despite the loss of parking, the Old Port business owners would far preferthe current pedestrian congregation to a barren field of cars.

The same situation stands before the University of Southern Maine now. Will this historic green area -- which is bordered by spectacular pinetrees and provides an essential open space in a neighborhood with very fewgreen areas - be saved? Once gone, it will likely be gone forever.

It is my hope that the leaders of the University of Southern Maine havethe foresight and the nobility to choose beauty and life over ugliness anddeath in a crucial part of our esteemed city.
Sincerely yours,
Annie Wadleigh


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