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Keep Miller & Rhoads, lose the plaza; Much to be enthusiastic about in Richmond; Richmonders drawn to other waterfronts; Local art community an untapped resource; City management not that bad 

Letters

Keep Miller & Rhoads, lose the plaza
I wholeheartedly agree with Doug Harnsberger (News & Features, March 13). To tear down this architectural treasure to create a "plaza" would be a tragic mistake.

One note: The article states that the store covers about 2,710 square feet of land. Of course it's been years since I've actually shopped there, but even in my old age I think I correctly recall that the first floor of that store was at least a little bigger than the first floor of my house.

Vic Hines



Much to be enthusiastic about in Richmond
Huzzas, bravos and congratulations to Hal Wingo (Cover Story, March 13), Angela Whitley (News & Features, March 13) and Doug Harnsberger (News & Features, March 13).

Miller & Rhoads is much too stunning a building to be demolished. Why not carve a symphony hall out of its vast interior while retaining the rich and interesting facades?

I wish Wingo's enthusiasm for the canals were shared by more Richmonders. Looking forward to sampling Whitley's four food emporiums on a future Richmond visit.

Burt Edwards
A New York reader




Richmonders drawn to other waterfronts
Hal Wingo made some very good points about the need to help people find the Canal Walk (Cover Story, March 13). However, there are many differences between the canal walk in Richmond and the San Antonio riverfront.

The first is that San Antonians went to the riverbank before it was commercialized, so the restaurants, hotels and shops were placed where people went anyway. Richmonders, on the other hand, go to the "rivah" in throngs but it is not the James to which they go.

In San Antonio, as in much of Texas, rivers/water of any variety are a scarce commodity and, therefore, a place to go and recreate when available. There is plenty of water around Richmond and Richmonders take it for granted.

Unless there is something to do, places to eat and hotels, Richmonders will continue to head to other waterfronts for their pleasure.

Evelyn Beaumont



Hal Wingo replies: The fact that San Antonians went to the riverbank before it was commercialized was one of the main points of my story, and this attitude of going to and gathering at the canal is what Richmond desperately needs now, not later when the shops and hotels pop up. The question is not who has the most nearby rivers and lakes, but how a city feels about the water that courses through its veins.



Local art community an untapped resource
For a town with thousands of artists and one of the largest art schools in the world, Richmond city managers do not seem to appreciate art very much (Back Page, March 20). They have a vendetta against not only graffiti but against any type of "street" art as well.

The local art community could be a gold mine for the city. Towns that foster the creativity of residents have promoted themselves and revitalized their downtown areas. These places have become tourist destinations that people visit just to see the outdoor art.

Richmond's City Council lacks any kind of creative spirit. Taxpayers have to tolerate ongoing scandals, petty personal conflicts and backbiting from these ineffective public servants. They seem to be more concerned with personal gain than the creativity that flourishes here.

City management's discouragement of artistic creativity wastes a valuable resource and one of the best aspects of living here. It's truly a shame for all of use that these cultural dullards cannot recognize Richmond for the thriving art center that it is.

William Pickett



City management not that bad
I would like to take exception to Lee Carleton's op-ed piece (Back Page, March 20).

Speaking as a park volunteer, the reason no dog signs are in Byrd Park and other parks is because that's the code as passed by City Council. Unfortunately there were enough dog droppings that weren't picked up to create an environmental hazard. The reason for the many signs is that people still claim not to know dogs are not allowed. Geese are a problem, and I believe they are working to control or perhaps relocate some of them.

As for Belle Isle and removing graffiti — it is a park and not an art gallery. If we leave vandalism at the hydroplant, why not the rocks, trees, other buildings and shelters?

I applaud the enforcement of parking. I can now find a space on the street and City Manager Calvin Jamison has made customer service a priority. If you find an answering machine full or valid e-mail unanswered, give the department head a call or even the city manager's office. They can't fix it if they don't know it's broken.

W.R. Price



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