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© St. Petersburg Times, published February 25, 2001
Re: Article about the raising of old First Baptist Church to provide parking for St. Peter's Cathedral.
Several years ago, the practical-minded Baptists decided to leave downtown St. Petersburg for greener pastures. St. Peter's Cathedral, also a historic church, made the decision to keep its ministry in the heart of the city.
Our downtown is being revitalized, and parking near St. Peter's on weekdays is becoming more of a problem. I do not think St. Peter's should be penalized for its decision to remain in the heart of the city. St. Peter's, First Methodist and Christ Methodist provide a vital spiritual presence in downtown St. Petersburg. They maintain daily outreach programs as well as concerts and community events.
St. Peter's should be allowed to have its own parking space. If the City Council and the St. Petersburg Historical Commission are serious about preserving the classical architecture of old First Baptist Church, let them provide the funds for preserving the facade of the old church.
-- Tom Anderson, St. Petersburg
This letter is in support of the planned project by St. Peter's to raze the former Baptist church building in St. Petersburg for parking.
With respect to the Historical Preservation Commission, we believe this project to be of a far greater need with the growth of the area and the church. Please consider this when making the final decision on this request.
-- Gilbert and Claudia Welch, St. Petersburg
Re: Let's end the Florida litter blight and A nice state to visit, if not for trash, letters, Feb. 14.
These letters concerning the garbage left along roadsides and in drainage ditches are all too real. However, the writers failed to mention the parking lots of the commercial properties of gas stations, small strip malls, etc. I feel these properties should not only set a good example for everyone to keep Florida clean and beautiful but should comply with city and county ordinances more so than someone whose grass is a little too long or whose easement hasn't been kept up.
A lot of this trash comes from these stores and though no one can make them accountable once that person has left the property, the city and county could help by installing wastebaskets on telephone poles on each or every other block -- and, of course, emptying them weekly.
P.S. We need more wastebaskets scattered throughout Pinellas County.
-- Catherine Nicolas, St. Petersburg
Re: A nice state to visit, if not for the trash, letters, Feb. 14.
As a native Floridian, born in St. Petersburg, I remember how clean and pretty my hometown used to be when I was a child. Then came more and more visitors. As time went by, they began to care less and dump their trash on the way back up north.
Now our state is littered with trash from our visitors. Maybe they will begin to treat our home like their own.
-- Elizabeth Pauley-Wisniewska, St. Petersburg
Since I am a new resident of Pinellas Park, I am appalled at the conditions of some of your mobile home parks and the litter thrown all over the streets and highways.
I lived in Chicago all my life and have never seen the litter I see all over this state of Florida. Police should issue tickets to landowners who own the land these mobile parks are on and issue tickets to people throwing garbage out the windows of their autos.
-- K. Smith, Pinellas Park
In practically all cases, handicapped parking permits are issued to licensed drivers who have any of several specified disabilities that affect mobility. The permit allows the permit-holder to park in a handicap space when having to leave the vehicle to accomplish an errand.
The permit is not valid for use by another person, when the driver remains with the vehicle or when the permit-holder is a passenger. Passengers can be let off and picked up near a building entrance.
Improper use of these spaces denies their use for the intended purpose and is a violation of law, subject to a substantial fine.
-- George J. Hays, Largo
I had not been to downtown St. Petersburg at night in more than two years. So when BayWalk opened, I decided it was time to see what all the fuss was about.
My wife and I and another couple dined at Gratzzi's (reviewed by restaurant critic Chris Sherman) at St. Petersburg's new BayWalk facility.
What a beautiful job they did on that complex reminiscent of Cocowalk in Miami. We dined and shopped and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
But all I could think about was that BayWalk could have been in downtown Clearwater if the shortsighted critics of former City Manager Mike Roberto's plan had really understood the plan. Instead, thousands of "baby steps" such as the recently outlined redevelopment plan will need to be enacted to bring even a minor change to the area.
You will see that I am not a resident of Clearwater. I reside in Safety Harbor, another sleepy town in need of some redevelopment plans of our own. I spend my entertainment dollars throughout Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. I enjoy Clearwater Beach, but there is no reason to go to Clearwater or Clearwater Beach after sundown.
All I can say is Clearwater missed out on a chance of a lifetime!
-- Mark Reinheimer, Safety Harbor
Re: Vision-less Valentines, by Donna Winchester, Feb. 14.
I was very impressed in reading about the Braille class for sighted students at Cross Bayou Elementary. Andrea Schleicher, the school's vision-impaired resource teacher, is doing a terrific job in developing skills in these kids. Such need-based programs can really aid handicapped youths. Often it isn't what we do for which we are held responsible but also what we don't do, as a society, for which we should be held accountable.
It's a miscarriage of fairness to ignore folks with disabilities. Every skill they learn holds a promise. When it comes to the blind or deaf, you must work with the inner contents, not the crust, and sometimes the worst circumstances can lead to near-genius output. As an example, Ludwig van Beethoven was deaf, and look at his creative output.
When it comes to the handicapped, we must remember that our love and kindness always count in their development and happiness.
-- Robert B. Fleming, St. Petersburg