Letters to the Editors
The Parkway threatens our way of life
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 11, 2001
Editor: In response to your articles concerning the Suncoast Parkway, I have a few ideas that may help residents see the light and fight to stop the progression of the road so that it doesn't destroy what they have known as home all their lives.
I am a native of St. Petersburg, two hours south of here. I remember as a child going down to the Million Dollar Pier to watch elderly men and young children laugh and chuckle as they played checkers. There was no air conditioning then, just the cool breezes from Tampa Bay. On warm Sunday afternoons, it was still cool on the pier.
I can see the glistening sparkles from the clear waters below. Birds galore up above. This is the spot progress now calls The Pier, which, as far as I know, has been a white elephant and liability on the citizens of St. Petersburg from the day it was built. Year after year, subsidy supported. I miss the memory of the boys and happy old men. Where can I go today to find that calm I remember?
Well, I grew up and matured in St. Peterburg. I have been married and lived in the same house for 22 years, a house my husband slowly built by hand out of love. His soul was in that house, his love left behind. You see, he promised this house to his buddy who died in his arms in Vietnam 26 years ago. They had designed it together in their heads as they lay in the mud and the swamps of Vietnam eluding bullets. His friend was not as lucky.
Within the past two years, our next door neighbor there threatened to burn us out, kill me, then kill my husband, stalked me at night and continually shot birds in his back yard. We had a third-party witness to the bird killing and the St. Petersburg Police did nothing more than take a report. As for our lives being threatened, there was no proof, even though my husband and I both heard it.
Why do I share all this with you? Because I know we are not alone in desiring a peaceful home. Americans strive for a place they can call home. We tried every legal angle possible to stop our neighbor and to live in peace, but we lost. We found five acres here in Citrus County and have enjoyed two months of bliss. We have the purest water coming out of our well to drink. The air is as fresh as when I was child. The rooster crows every day, rain or shine, and we love the scent of the rain.
Please, citizens of Citrus County, listen to me. I left a congested city with dirty sidewalks, dirty water, unsafe streets, pollution in the sky every day of the year, police I could not trust, white-elephant political projects that only brought higher taxes and many regrets.
You can't go back. You can't relive your childhood. But you can give your children and your grandchildren a life you remember fondly. A more peaceful time. A place where you had time for family and love.
If this parkway comes to fruition, your past and memories will be lost. Progress is good within reason. This parkway, I believe, will bring higher taxes, more crime, less water and less quiet time to savor the smile on your newborn's face.
Life is nothing more than a collection of memories. What will your collection contain five years after the parkway takes your home away? Get to know a homeless person now so you will be prepared to cope with the feeling when you realize what eminent domain does to your property values.
The truth is out there; we must find it and stop this.
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