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    Letters to the Editors

    Nighttime proposal a mistake for trail

    © St. Petersburg Times
    published January 25, 2002

    Re: Is the trail ready for night life, story, Jan. 18.

    For more than 11 years, the Fred E. Marquis Pinellas Trail has been a successful county park. Next to our world-famous beaches, our trail is the second most appreciated amenity in Pinellas County. Our citizens are proud of our trail, and it has become a model to communities throughout Florida and across the country of how a public-private partnership can be successful.

    More than 10-million users have enjoyed traveling along the abandoned railroad corridor from Tarpon Springs to St. Petersburg. The overwhelming support for our linear park came with an understanding of the pros of a daytime (sunrise to sunset) trail through our neighborhoods and businesses, and the cons (not to have the trail open after sunset).

    A safety/security task force composed of law enforcement (from the Sheriff's Office and local police departments), county staffers and citizen representatives has met every three months to discuss and monitor all related issues. This group has been pleased with the minimum number of safety and security issues we have had to review. Opening the trail after sunset has occasionally been discussed and routinely been dismissed. Both law enforcement officers and residents recognize that having the trail open after sundown will open a Pandora's box of problems and troubles.

    Pinellas Trails Inc., a nonprofit, all-volunteer citizens organization, was established to promote a "rails-to-trails" project in our county and to raise private donations for benches, water fountains, bicycle racks, signs and litter receptacles along the trail. A Trees for the Trail Fund was created for additional, private funding to help beautify the trail. Pinellas Trail Auxiliary volunteers assist our county's Parks Department staff and law enforcement along the route. Pinellas Trails Inc. sponsors this group of residents, who continue to help to make our trail safe and secure.

    Common sense tells you that our trail should not change its operating hours. Our elected officials need to show their leadership in their response to this issue. They need to acknowledge the success of our trail and the reasons why it is successful.
    -- Scott Daniels, president Pinellas Trails Inc., Clearwater

    Name main library after librarian

    Re: The librarian who changed a community, story, Jan. 21.

    Thanks for the interesting article on North Greenwood's first librarian, Christine Morris. Ms. Morris is my hero because she lived a life that overcame evil with good. She exhibits the attributes of a true civic hero.

    In the '50s and '60s, her loving service to the citizens of this city, in spite of the bigotry and racism of fellow city workers who maintained a plaque in the main library stating that African Americans were not welcome there, is inspiring.

    The space and condition of the "Negro Library" were never "separate but equal;" and for the city of Clearwater's history to read, as it does in the '50s and '60s, that leaders were proud of what they gave to the African Americans in that era reflects poorly on the beliefs and values of Clearwater.

    I realize that, luckily for us, Christine Morris is a living legend; but I still think that our present library leadership would do well to make a small attempt at righting the grievous wrongs of the past by naming not the new North Greenwood branch but the new main library after her.
    -- Jill Rommel, Clearwater

    Tall buildings will ruin the beach

    Re: Why change who decides on tall buildings? editorial, Jan. 10.

    As a new resident of this beautiful area, I must voice my opinion on what I consider a very important issue.

    My love for the beach has brought me here. I would be extremely sad to see more tall buildings taking over the area.

    I have come from an area of many beautiful skyscrapers and they have a place in the city. However, why must we destroy the beauty of this area? When I drive Gulfview Boulevard and get a glimpse of the gulf and extraordinary views of water and nature, it makes me extremely happy.

    Please don't ruin the views we have left. I have seen the beaches at Miami and now you cannot get a view of the water from A1A. I am only a little voice, but I am sure there are many who feel the same way.
    -- Caroline Anzalone, Largo

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