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Way of life fades with mobile homes

Published July 27, 2003

Re: Mobile home owners reeling at sale, July 20, Time seals mobile home park's fate, July 16, and 25 acres a prize in beaches deal, July 15.

In the '60s, '70s and '80s many, many people retired to Florida and chose to live in mobile home parks. They preferred them to the cramped feeling of apartments or the outdoor work of a house. Sometimes it was a matter of economics. Mobile homes represented a way of retirement that opened new doors after years of work and raising a family. It was a relaxed and friendly atmosphere in which to seek new adventures.

They had a little bit of land on which to plant flowers. They had a clubhouse for activities, craft lessons and shuffleboard. On Thanksgiving and Christmas they held a dinner so those who had no family close by wouldn't have to spend the day alone. The activities director planned bus trips to dinner theatres or places of interest around Florida - nothing grandiose or pretentious, but simple, carefree and comfortable. This was the "old Florida."

And so they grew into their 80s and 90s, content to stay in the ease and comfort of their mobile homes that brought so much warmth and happiness. Unfortunately, they don't own the land on which their homes sit. Times change - in come the developers to build row houses (now called townhouses so they can sell for more money) and condos - wealthy people seeking to become even wealthier. Where will these elderly people move? What will happen to their mobile homes?

This is our world today - more sophisticated, more moneyed, more aloof. The "old Florida" always had a "homey" feel to it. Life seemed so simple and uncomplicated. It is a way of life never to be seen again. However, memories remain in the minds of those who experienced it, and they are richer for the gentleness of that period in Florida's history.

-- M. Taylor, Seminole

Tower a monstrosity, not progress

Re: Developer promises a tower of luxury, July 18.

It appears that another high-rise monstrosity is to be added to Beach Drive, forming another portion of a wall that will eventually block sun, light, and view from the rest of the downtown.

I am surprised at the lack of opposition to what is taking place. If this is progress, I suggest St. Petersburg consider changing its name to Miami Beach West.

-- Alan G. Nelson, St. Pete Beach

Seek public's thoughts on waterfront

Re: St. Petersburg waterfront.

The League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area believes that the city's downtown waterfront parkland from Coffee Pot Bayou southward to Lassing Park, and including the Bayfront Center area, is unique and should be well-maintained in a manner consistent with good taste and protection of the environment. It should provide a setting conducive to leisure needs of people of all ages. The integrity of the parkland and water vistas should be protected.

Is the City Council approaching the issues of the St. Petersburg waterfront and airport in a manner that is responsive and accountable to the citizens of the city? Is adequate opportunity for citizen participation in decisionmaking being provided? Before major decisions are made on land use changes, the League believes that opportunity for substantial public input should be provided. Clearly defined choices should be offered in separate amendments to the City Charter.

We suggest that public meetings be held in high schools throughout the city,to provide ample opportunity for input and questions from the citizens. The public deserves to hear details about the confusing issues and legal questions related to the St. Petersburg waterfront and airport. Whatever is decided will have long-term consequences for the city and such major questions call for widespread deliberation.

-- Mary Berglund, president, League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area

Hotel could put focus on city's art

Re: Will Dali come to town? July 19.

Building a new Dali Museum at the current Bayfront Center site makes a lot of sense. Why not go one step further and get private developers to build an "art hotel" on the site also? It could be art deco style, making it a tourist attraction itself, and could feature art in the lobby that is culled from local museums and art galleries.

Think of the cultural tourism value of an art hotel located next to one of the most famous art collections in the world. It would also create a "park once and see all the museums and galleries by Looper trolley" situation that tourists would love.

-- Malcolm Johnson, Seminole

Don't blame God for bad choices

Re: Pastor's story was appalling, letter, July 20.

The letter writer missed the whole essence of Rev. David Terhune's "test of faith" example. The children who drowned did so as a consequence of disobedience. The prisoners in jail were there due to the consequence of breaking the law. God did not punish the children. They suffered the consequence of doing what their parents had told them not to do.

My brother drowned as a lad because he played near the river when my father had asked him not to. It had nothing to do with punishment from God. People suffer as a consequence of doing things wrong. If someone runs a red light and gets hit by another car, it is the consequence of disobeying the light. God intervenes in the lives of people who obey Him as He has promised in His Word. God also brings together situations where He can speak to a person's heart and bring them peace if they will trust and obey and serve Him.

I'm speechless to think someone would blame God when they suffer the consequences of disobedience. I'm happy to serve Him and thank God for a pastor who preaches that the Bible says what it means and means what it says. Obedience to Him brings peace!

-- Melvin Smith, Pinellas Park

Amateur wrestling a noble sport

Re: A camp for learning all the right moves by Donna Winchester, July 6.

I really enjoyed this article about getting youth involved in amateur wrestling. This was my sport of choice in high school. I wrestled as an amateur for three years and was involved in exhibitions we would put on every Sunday at Hamlin Park in Chicago.

Amateur wrestling can sow in the youthful heart the germ of a mentality the later effect of which may be the development of noble traits of character such as good sportsmanship. Great physical traits and dexterity come from the training in wrestling. I went in the Army shortly after being involved in amateur wrestling for years. It can transform a young man who has already received flawless physical preparation into a soldier. Such prior conditioning sure aided me in basic training and throughout my Army hitch. Truly, amateur wrestling is a sport of the highest merit.

-- Robert B. Fleming, St Petersburg
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