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Letters to the Editors

Dome District doomed from day one

© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 29, 2001

Re: Dome District slump, Aug. 12.

Why is it a surprise to anyone who invested good money in nightclubs and bars surrounding Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg that they were doomed to failure?

That area is not an Ybor City, it is not even a BayWalk, it's a group of streets lining Central Avenue that have housed food and beverage venues that have failed or are not likely to make it.

First, the most food and beverage consumed before during and after a game at the Trop will be served from those operators inside the Trop.

Second, when a specific area is reliant on a sports team to generate their revenue, the team has to win.

Third, the team has to have superstar players of New York Yankees marquee value to bring fans, even when the team is in a slump.

Fourth, without a strong anchor such as a Planet Hollywood or Hard Rock Cafe, Dave & Busters or Gameworks you have nothing to build on.

Fifth, rents must be such that they give a food and beverage operator breathing room to lay the groundwork, do the marketing and become established.

Sixth, you have to give people a reason to come to a district with assorted bars and clubs. Besides the Devil Rays, who hardly give anyone a reason, the Dome District gives no other reasons to frequent food and beverage establishments.

Finally, you can't simply be dependent in the Dome District on the Devil Rays. Unless you establish your own identity and your own image and perception, you will not last long.

Pretty lights and painted sidewalks are hardly an incentive for prospective patrons to come to an area.
-- Richard Unger, Sarasota

We've found a safe cell phone system

Re: Cell phones and driving.

My daughter has a cell phone. When I need to get in touch with her, I ring her five times and hang up. My phone number shows up on her phone, and she calls me back from a parking lot or her destination. It's a lot safer than having her try to answer while in traffic. This system works for us.
-- Jolene McDonald, Largo

Our artificial yards cause harm

Every time I walk my dog through my neighborhood, I see little signs in people's yards that state (and I paraphrase), "Beware! I have just applied deadly poison all over my yard. Keep children and pets away!" This makes me question our priorities. We all brag about the natural environment and beauty of Florida, yet we go about creating our artificial yards of St. Augustine grass.

Currently, red algae is appearing in Tampa Bay, endangering the wildlife in the bay. The cause: runoff of fertilizers from our yards. How many of the small ponds and lakes in our neighborhoods, which years ago children could fish in, are now polluted? The cause: runoff of fertilizers and pesticides from our yards. We are currently experiencing a water shortage, a big part caused by watering our yards. The air pollution caused by our lawn mowers, edgers, trimmers and blowers harm the air we breathe.

And why all of this damage to the environment? The answer: So we can have our artificial yards of St. Augustine grass. When will we get to the place where we can take advantage of the natural beauty and environment of Florida, when we landscape our yards?

Well, I have to go now to crank up my lawn mower, edger, trimmer and blower to mow my yard now, so later I can apply fertilizer, algicide and pesticide, because tomorrow is a watering day.
-- Richard Feigel, Clearwater

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