tampabay.com

Today's Letters: Gone: sparkling beach, family feel

By LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published May 30, 2007


My son was here from Illinois to spend Mother's Day with me. Whenever he comes, we love to take long walks on the beach.

I have lived in Clearwater for 26 years and vacationed here for 18 years before that, but what a disappointment and embarrassment it was when we got there on May 14! Not only were there piles of seaweed the entire length of the beach, but there were T-shirts, underwear, shorts and other trash that had not been picked up. The people we talked to were very unhappy that they had to carry their toddlers over the piles of seaweed to get to the water.

We were there for more than an hour, but there was no sign of any cleanup crews. We had intended to have lunch at the beach, but it was so hard to walk and so unpleasant that we just left. My son and I agreed that if we were first-time visitors, we might have had second thoughts about returning.

The "talking heads" here in Clearwater would like us to believe that what is happening on the beach will make the area a "world-class destination." To those dandy dreamers, let me just say that Clearwater Beach will never be a world-class destination. Maybe - hopefully - the beach can be kept clean, but parking has been a problem for years. And now we have streets torn up, unhappy merchants, and unfinished and empty condos spoiling the view.

Change is not always good. The warm, friendly, family feeling we enjoyed for years is gone. If this is progress, give me the good old days when a banner stretched across the entrance to Memorial Causeway (then known as the Garden Causeway) proclaimed "Welcome to Sparkling Clearwater Beach" and meant it. Remember?

Louise Smith, Clearwater

Re: Work begins soon on downtown Marriott story, May 16

Funds for hotel but not for seniors

It seems strange that with all the proposed and actual budget cuts of Clearwater and suspension of services, the city can find $578, 000 to help a construction company build a hotel. That $578, 000 could go a long way toward providing a senior center.

When the only senior center in Clearwater for more than 45 years needed financial help to continue its valuable service, the city commissioners absolutely could not find money to help save the (private) organization. Yet all of a sudden, hundreds of thousands of dollars appear to help build a hotel. We can cut our vital services such as firefighters and police so that we can help build a hotel.

Clearwater City Council members, where are your priorities? Certainly not in the interests of the general public and particularly our seniors.

Do you, the general public, realize that in cities with populations more than 100, 000, Clearwater has the largest percentage of seniors in the country? Yet our council can't find enough money for a senior center but can find enough for a hotel. Does that seem right?

Ruth M. Harvey, Clearwater

Deposit systems deter littering

After going for my last walk before going north to Maine, I picked up several plastic water bottles, four beer cans and half a dozen soft-drink bottles. Drivers throw them out of their cars after they're empty. I guess that's the way of life in Florida - somebody else will pick them up.

What Florida needs is a deposit program. When a six-pack of Coke is purchased, add 30 cents. The money will be reimbursed at a redemption center. If you turn in 200 bottles or cans, you get $10 back. It works in Maine, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts and New York.

The streets would be a lot cleaner - except for the cigarette butts.

Larry Zwart, Dunedin

Your voice counts

You may submit a letter to the editor for possible publication through our Web site at www.tampabay.com/letters, or by faxing it to (727) 445-4119, or by mailing it to Letters, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. You must include your name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.