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Today's Letters: Don't reject land before facts are in

Letters to the Editor
Published November 28, 2007


Re: Clearwater, Dunedin get boost from grants editorial, Nov. 16

I am not a resident of Dunedin, but the land purchase for which the Florida Communities Trust gave its okay is of countywide concern.

We all travel that stretch of highway, Bayshore Boulevard (Alt. U.S. 19). It used to be a scenic drive, a great introduction to the quaint city of Dunedin and an indication that perhaps Dunedin had used its resources well as the county grew up around it. Now that roadway is walled by condominiums as so much of Pinellas County seems to be. But there is one stretch of open coastline left: the Weaver property.

Let me remind all citizens of Pinellas County, especially those in Dunedin, that nature is not making any new land anymore, and that land that overlooks the bay or the gulf is at a premium, and that such land is never going to get any cheaper.

What is offered to you in the Weaver property is all there is; there is never going to be another land deal like this again.

Let me also remind Dunedin of the charm of their downtown business district and how well they have engineered the recovery of their inner core residential areas when the cities around them are floundering. There were a lot of naysayers when that change was going on, but the city and its citizens forged ahead and created a gem of a downtown area. Just compare the way Dunedin embraces the Pinellas Trail as opposed to Clearwater, which shuns it to a back alley.

But already the people of Dunedin have taken sides on whether or not to buy the Weaver property and the "discovery phase" of this project has not even begun. Already the land is "too expensive," when the appraisals have not been done, when the ownership issues have not yet been resolved. Already there is no money for development of the property when there is no need for development immediately just because you own it. Already there is concern about a traffic problem when parkgoers cross Alt. U.S. 19, but the park doesn't even exist yet.

The time to buy the land is after the appraisals and land boundaries are complete and a true market price has been established.

The time to worry about what the park will be like is after Dunedin owns the land.

The cart is pretty far in front of the horse and the citizens of Dunedin are operating on an incomplete set of facts. I would ask that you let this project run its course through the fact-gathering phase before making up your mind to buy the land or not. It is as if you are deciding not to buy a new house before even looking at its features or determining its true value.

Jane Williams,Clearwater

Attend Wal-Mart site plan meeting

Tonight the Board of Adjustment of the city of Tarpon Springs has an opportunity to speak to the sanity and reason of defending our nationally classified waters of the United States tidal wetlands.

Tonight the Board of Adjustment has an obligation to allow the appropriate review process of a site plan that proposes major impact and dangers to the sovereign submerged lands belonging to the people of the State of Florida.

Tonight the Board of Adjustment can ensure that the Anclote River, designated an "Outstanding Florida Waterway and Aquatic Preserve" by the state, is given due process to possibly remain a pristine artery that links commerce, tourism, humanism, nature, history and recreation in our city.

What: Board of Adjustment hearing related to the proposed Wal-Mart on the Anclote River

Where: Tarpon Springs City Hall, 324 E Pine St., Tarpon Springs

When: 7 p.m. today

Details: Several concerned residents have filed an appeal of an administrative decision to the Tarpon Springs Board of Adjustment. Specifically, they have appealed the decision of city staff to treat proposed changes to the approved site plan for the proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter on the Anclote River as "minor" rather than "major." Treating the changes as "minor" means they can be approved by a staff committee, while "major" changes must be considered by the city's Planning and Zoning Board and the City Commission at public hearings.

Tonight, show up, step up, speak up! Offer your support for the appellants holding Wal-Mart accountable, and make your voice heard during the public comment period. Be a part of the solution. Exercise your investment in democracy and your belief that the river that runs through this city deserves our attention.

Lin Carte, Tarpon Springs

Donations given, but not collected

I read that all of the charities in the Tampa Bay area are looking for donations and that their donations are down.

On State Road 580 and County Road 1 there is a Bank of America branch. Behind the branch there is a clothing collection container for Holy Ground homeless children and families. For two weeks I tried to track them down because the container was full of donated clothing, so people who brought more clothing left it all around on the ground outside the container.

Maybe the Times will have better luck finding them and possibly getting these donations to people who would appreciate them instead of them lying on the ground and becoming useless.

Steve Troiano,Dunedin

Celtic Festival suffered indoors

I had my misgivings about the Celtic Festival being held indoors, but I attended anyway and was, unfortunately, not surprised that the indoor venue allowed for a very limited number of vendors, especially food vendors. This is not so when it is held outdoors, as it has been in the past.

I was not pleased with the lack of seating available. There would have been no problem had the event been held outdoors and everyone was able to bring their own chairs.

Cramming that many people indoors also caused it to be very stuffy and I found myself having to take occasional breathers outside to avoid sweating. The weather was beautiful and would have perfectly accommodated all in attendance.

It was also very obvious that the building was not constructed to accommodate the acoustics of most of the entertainment. I had absolutely no idea what Jimmy Crowley was saying/singing and could only understand Seven Nations, whom I've followed for ten years, when I plugged my ears. The sound in that room was so bad that most people in attendance left when Seven Nations had finished its first set!

As you can see by my laundry list of complaints, the indoor concert idea was bad. Patrons, vendors and artists alike were disappointed. I hope this doesn't dissuade 7N from returning to the Celtic Festival in future years. I hope the "powers that be" return the festival outdoors, as it was meant to be.

Laurie Griffith,Clearwater

Your voice counts

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