Wal-Mart approval was not fully thought through

Letters to the Editor
Published January 21, 2005

Re: Wal-Mart Supercenter approved for an Anclote River site by the Tarpon Springs City Commission.

Wal-Mart may have won the battle but it has lost the war.

Also, the voters of Tarpon Springs will well remember at the next election the lack of courage and foresight shown by our city officials in yielding to the Wal-Mart imposition on our fair city and its natural wonders. Those of us who persevered and fought this foregone conclusion into the wee hours of the morning Wednesday exemplified the truest meaning of democracy in action.

We saw how expert testimony clearly illustrated serious flaws in the city's ill-fated decision and how our city officials ignored citizen input and disgust for an inappropriately placed project.

Two factors, among many others, should have warranted rejection, or at least, postponement of this inappropriate project. Firstly, instead of conducting its own traffic study, the city accepted the woefully inadequate Wal-Mart study, which was done in June, an obvious low-flow time for traffic. Also, the study concentrated only on the area nearest the site instead of the larger impact area running from Flora Avenue on the north to Tarpon Avenue on the south.

Secondly, regarding potential pollution, it was noted that the minimum standards would not be adequate to handle long rainy periods or serious storm surges. Either condition would lead to dangerous runoff into the Anclote River and its wetlands.

I appeal to Wal-Mart to repair the enormous damage that has already been done to its public image, and will continue to result, if it persists in this poorly placed project. What a wonderful opportunity for Wal-Mart to prove to the world that it indeed does have a heart and that it really does care about local communities and permanent damage to the environment.

The proper solution, as suggested by one of the testifiers, says it best: "Wal-Mart, find another site!"

-- Leon Kreitman, Tarpon Springs

Encroachment on Anclote River is worst part of big-box plan

Today we mourn the demise of a small town. The citizens of Tarpon Springs are in a doomsday mood because of the City Commission approval of a new Wal-Mart Supercenter, which is going to be built on environmentally sensitive and pristine land on the banks of the Anclote River. There are countless reasons for their concern:

1. Environmental impact and pollution.

2. Destruction of wildlife.

3. Changing the picture of a quaint town that has a touch of yesteryear and a wonderful Greek ambiance.

4. Danger of a major traffic calamity on U.S. 19.

In addition to the real threat of all this, the citizens are speechless as to the audacity of the City Commission to disregard their wishes and go ahead with the approval of this plan, when endless shopping centers on U.S. 19 are already vacant and could easily be used for this purpose.

Is there anything a town can do to stop this?

This is a major question for the citizens of Florida. Do they wish to see what's left of their beautiful pristine countryside being ruined by more and more shopping malls and developments until all of Florida becomes a concrete and asphalt jungle, or do we start to preserve our heritage now?

-- Karl and Agnes Leuenroth, Tarpon Springs

Company's money outshined dissenting residents' concerns

Wal-Mart is allowed to put up its monstrosity of a building, ruin the landscape and put people out of business, and the poor fools that voted for these city commissioners thought they had a chance to stop this. Of course not. Money talks and talks and talks.

Those of you who complain about outsourcing and the loss of jobs to foreign manufacturers, then flock to the big Wal-Mart to shop, have no one to blame but yourselves. Me, I'm happy to spend more to buy made in the USA.

Give it two years and you will have a nasty environment thanks to the three commissioners who voted for the Wal-Mart.

-- Terry Tucker, Palm Harbor

Continue fight to stop new store by contacting executives, media

With a broken heart I write this to appeal to the local Tarpon Springs government and citizens to continue the fight against the Wal-Mart Supercenter planned on pristine waterfront property.

I moved here only two months ago due to the loss of small and quaint town values caused by a Wal-Mart Supercenter. Now it appears again, and why? The almighty dollar and greed by Wal-Mart.

The Tarpon Springs Commission approved the site plan for a Wal-Mart Supercenter after a meeting of more than 12 hours with hundreds of appeals from local citizens to not approve the plan. The commission did so anyway out of fear of being strong-armed by the largest retailer in the United States.

The fight is not over when citizens can use their voice at the Bentonville, Ark., level Bentonville is where Wal-Mart has its headquarters as well as on the national news. Please write letters and make phone calls to continue the fight by writing to the corporate officers of Wal-Mart at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Bentonville, AR 72716-8611, and get us on the national nightly news by sending e-mails to Nightly@NBC.com

I have personally seen the economy and quality of life destroyed at the small-town level by Wal-Mart. Increased traffic and the closing of small businesses were the results.

Tarpon Springs and the Anclote River cannot afford to fall victim like so many other Florida treasures due to Wal-Mart's greed. They cannot co-exist in any form regardless of the concessions the retailer is willing to make. This will dilute and taint our quality of life as well as the natural life we have come to love and protect.

-- Denise Simon, Tarpon Springs

Not all of Tarpon Springs is against Wal-Mart's proposal

I reside in a community of newly constructed homes within the city of Tarpon Springs.

There are many more people in favor of Wal-Mart than the St. Petersburg Times seems to mention. Seems when I ask about the proposed Wal-Mart, people are all strongly in favor. I have only met two people opposed to it, and it seems this prompted one of the individuals to run for city commissioner.

Progress is development. Visit the cities of Oldsmar and Dunedin. I applaud the leaders of these municipalities. Seems they have a vision for the future.

Tarpon needs a major facelift. I would hope that the development of Wal-Mart is just the beginning.

Seems Wal-Mart is willing to make concessions to try and make everyone happy.

On behalf of the majority, welcome to Tarpon Springs, Wal-Mart!

-- F. Felicetta, Tarpon Springs

State's loss of "the real Florida' will trump its sense of pride

Re: Wal-Mart Supercenter proposal in Tarpon Springs.

Floridians point with pride at "the real Florida."

But when it's gone, it's gone. Forever.

-- Charles Sollinger, Safety Harbor


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