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© St. Petersburg Times, published February 16, 2001
I'm writing this letter as a reflection of my thoughts as a Tarpon Springs commissioner for the past two years.
When I entered the political arena, I was a novice with a sincere desire to give back to the community that has given so much to me. I recognized an opportunity to assist in the unification of a city sharply divided by health care litigation that polarized longstanding relationships.
The current mayor and commissioners worked hard to secure a strong health care alliance with the University Community Hospital Group and, at the same time, endeavored to recast the bonds of friendship that separated our citizens.
I'm sure you have observed that civility and productivity have returned to our city government.
In my lifetime, as a professional baseball player and corporate manager, I have learned to respect and cherish teamwork and a cooperative spirit among my peers. This commission has displayed a willingness to work together in its day-to-day operations. This type of demeanor has had a calming effect on the community and has helped project our city in a better light to our neighboring municipalities.
I ask the voters of Tarpon Springs to consider my comments during the March election.
-- Jim Archer, Tarpon Springs
Re: One project's troubles may delay second, Jan. 31 story.
I should hope this is not the last coverage regarding Highmark Homes. Virtually every person living in the Virginia Crossings subdivision in Dunedin has a horror story pertaining to dealing with Highmark Homes.
Not only am I concerned about the other homeowners, but I am concerned with the unsuspecting public. The public comes to Virginia Crossings, sees nice-looking homes, talks with Highmark representatives and is taken in with what looks and sounds like a wonderful place to live. It would be a wonderful place to live if the subdivision as well as the homes were completed as promised, and homes were not being sold with all kinds of liens against them.
The city of Dunedin should certainly look into any and all permit applications presented by this company and/or its management. The state of Florida has seen fit to license the company and/or its officers. Both of these governments should also be concerned with protecting citizens from being taken advantage of.
At Virginia Crossings, the clubhouse and the pool (the cost of which was factored into the purchase price of each home) are not finished. The pool has an accumulation of rainwater stagnating in it, and there is no fence to protect someone from falling in. The fences surrounding the subdivision have never been painted and are already breaking up. The condition of the work site is abhorrent. Nothing gets cleaned up; more debris just gets thrown on the pile. The homeowners' association had to pay to have the site around the clubhouse cleaned up because Highmark Homes, after many promises, did not fulfill its word and clean up its mess.
There are several other major problems I have experienced with Highmark Homes which have become too involved to cover in this letter, but the best summation that I can think of for the public with regard to Virginia Crossings is "Caveat emptor."
-- John M. Coyne and Sylvia A. Leimer, Dunedin
Re: The deterioration of Fort Harrison Avenue.
I feel compelled to commend and support the views of two Belleair residents who wrote letters regarding the condition of the pavement on Fort Harrison Avenue.
As local denizens know, Alternate U.S. 19 is a main artery from West Bay Drive as Clearwater-Largo Road, joining with Fort Harrison at Bellevue Boulevard and running through Clearwater to Dunedin. We on the west side of Pinellas County have only one thoroughfare; that's Alt. U.S. 19 and the infamous Fort Harrison Avenue.
There are two problems on Fort Harrison through Clearwater:
The pavement has deteriorated badly.
The turn lanes and bottlenecks around Morton Plant Hospital and at Drew Street are positively scandalous. Sometimes the one-lane lines of traffic are so long, one cannot even get out on the street from a parking lot.
Hello, hello... Where are our commissioners and engineers and political brass? How long must we tolerate this situation? But I don't think we even have to tell you people because unless you are blind and never got caught up in the traffic snarls on the street, you already know!
Another question: Why have we not heard the hue and cry of business and professional people who frequent this street or have businesses? Some could be losing clients or customers.
As one letter writer stated so very succinctly: "Fix bumpy Fort Harrison or tell us why." We're waiting!
-- Jack Keller Sr., Belleair Bluffs