Archive for Wednesday, July 26, 2000

Letters to the Editor

July 26, 2000

To the editor:

On behalf of the Baldwin Education Association, I am writing to encourage residents to support the "LOB" (Local Option Budget) by voting "yes" on this question in the Tuesday, Aug. 1 election. Each year, more and more school districts across the state find that the legislature has under funded the educational needs of their students. Districts have, out of necessity, turned to the "LOB" to meet the needs of the children they serve.

The USD 348 board of education passed a resolution to adopt a "Local Option Budget" (not to exceed 25 percent of the amount of state financial aid determined for the school year.) It will be submitted for a vote by district patrons on Tuesday, Aug. 1. Our schools no longer have only a need for supplemental funds but now need help funding basic operational costs. Many of the Baldwin schools do not have enough rooms for the classes being taught and have a major shortage of storage space. Renovation and building additions are needed. Staffing and equipment needs are also of concern.

Most surrounding school districts have adopted the LOB in support of their schools and the needs of the children. I encourage you to keep the outstanding reputation of USD 348 strong by voting "yes" on Aug. 1.

Sincerely,

Carol L. Landis, president

Baldwin Education Association

To the editor:

We've got trouble, right here in Baldwin City, with a capital "T," yes, I said "T," and that stands for "Tower." Little did we know that last month's performances of "The Music Man" foreshadowed something worse than a pool hall for our own little town. In less that a month, offers and decisions have been made that allow for the construction of a 150-foot cellular service tower, not on a hilltop near the highway, but right in the center of Baldwin City, on the corner of Sixth and High streets.

The Planning Commission did not want this tower planted in the center of our downtown. The City Council explored its legal options to bar its construction. Their hands were tied. Apparently our zoning ordinances were too loosely worded, allowing this travesty to transpire. The parties involved were not even required to notify adjacent and nearby neighbors of their impending doom. This structure complies 100 percent with no variance of our zoning ordinances. Our city fathers are not at fault. They wrote ordinances at a time when community meant something to the citizens of Baldwin City. Their ordinances did not anticipate the kind of mentality that ruins small towns that lie on the periphery of metropolitan areas.

What is this mentality? Greed. The greed of developers and "entrepreneurs" who look for a pattern of growth in the outlying areas of a metropolis such as Kansas City, then stake their claims early in these small towns, acquiring property and businesses, not with an eye toward becoming a part of a community, but with an eye toward turning a buck as a quickly and as often as possible. How long does it take a person with this mentality to make a decision to compromise the aesthetic integrity of an entire town? About as long as it takes to say, "$1,500 a month."

If you doubt the dire consequences of letting this mentality take over a town, talk to longtime residents of Stanley, Kan., or talk to your new neighbors and ask them why they moved out of Lawrence. Better yet, talk to the folks up in Weston, Mo., because somehow they managed to carve out a niche and keep their small-town charm in the midst of Kansas City's urban sprawl. It takes planning. It takes commitment. It takes a heads-up community.

Many whom I have spoken with don't seem to mind the presence of this metal monolith in downtown Baldwin City. We would just about sell our souls to get good cellular service in Baldwin and, it seems, we just about have. We have sacrificed a prominent corner of prime downtown real estate to the construction of a metal-frame tower that is anchored 24 feet into the ground and will extend 150 feet into the air. It is situated in the middle of a vacant lot half a block wide. It will serve one and only one purveyor of wireless telephone service for our community. No matter how our town may change, this will not change for the next 30 or more years. As Baldwin City grows, hopefully in more aesthetically attractive ways, if you find yourself growing weary of passing by this tower on your daily rounds, please remember that this eyesore was brought to you by Bell Automotive (under new ownership) and Voicestream (formerly Aerial Wireless).

Next summer as you enjoy our community theater's annual production, sitting in a grassy spot in downtown Baldwin City (less than two blocks away from Sixth and High) think for a moment what it would mean to our community if the owner of that lot had long ago decided to lease that space out to a cellular phone company.

Nancy L. Crisp

Baldwin City

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