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    Letters to the Editors

    Thanks for cracking down on bad drivers

    © St. Petersburg Times, published December 8, 2000

    Re: Taking aim at U.S. 19's bad drivers, Dec. 1.

    Bravo! The large number of sheriff's cruisers along U.S. 19 on Nov. 30 was a heartwarming sight. The next morning -- when the photos appeared prominently in the St. Petersburg Times -- much of the traffic between Palm Harbor and Tarpon Springs was actually moving within the posted speed limits and generally observing well-known laws and common courtesies.

    I wish it were possible to prolong this moment of sanity. This highly successful operation should be repeated as often as possible and practical so the lesson is not forgotten.

    All of us who cherish the right to drive and to arrive safely at our destinations should applaud this operation and support the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

    Let's all cooperate in a special effort to reduce the number of traffic accidents, ruined lives and tragic deaths along Florida's highways. The holiday season could be so much happier for all of us.
    -- M.W. Butrick, Palm Harbor

    Planned Clearwater projects are key to future tourism

    The city of Clearwater has in its wisdom created the opportunity for developers to come in and redevelop the tourist areas of Clearwater Beach. Now, the city must allow these developers the opportunity to go forward. There is room for all three redevelopment projects on the beach.

    David Mack's project -- with its revised south beach parking garage that the city will own in five years, the north beach garage behind Pelican Walk and the condos, shops, restaurants and boardwalk replacing tired East Shore -- is a win-win deal.

    Tony Markopolous' project to create a major resort at the entrance to south beach will bring a first-class major resort, designed by the team that did the Atlantis in the Bahamas. This project that will cost $100-million has all the financing in place and it's been brought forward by longtime beach businessmen.

    St. Pete Beach has the Don CeSar. Our beach is in need of a major resort to compete in the tourist market. The transformation of this area will solve traffic/right of way/easement problems and add to the beauty of what one sees when approaching the beach.

    Without the need for supplying parking for the city, Clearwater lawyer BillKimpton's midsized hotel project becomes viable for his South Gulfview property.

    The density pool can be shared by the two bigger projects and to my knowledge, meets their needs.

    The time is now, mayor and commissioners, to practice what has always been preached -- "Tourism is our No. 1 industry" -- and to allow these entrepreneurs to do it so there will be little or no cost to the taxpayers.
    -- Sheila Cole, Clearwater

    More citizen ideas needed on Largo's downtown plans

    Re: Largo needs a timely decision, not a task force, Dec. 6 editorial.

    Certainly setting up a citizen task force would have delayed the process of what will happen downtown a little longer, but at this stage of the game, is that a bad thing?

    Why not bring in some fresh minds and new perspectives on what the residents would like to see? Make this a true citizen committee, not one made up of influential business people or special interest groups.

    I think the city should postpone any decision until West Bay Drive is completed and the area is visually acceptable to any potential developer. I think the residents want the right thing done with this area, not just anything done with it.

    One of the goals, I would hope, would be to bring people to this area with something that would encourage them to spend time here. What about developing a partnership with Largo Medical Center or St. Petersburg Junior College to build a learning facility on the old City Hall site? While that may not be a revenue-producing venture, perhaps the city could then find a way to improve the businesses on the north side of West Bay and spur new businesses in the area.

    If our present City Commission cannot agree on what is best for this site, I would hope it would call on those who put them into office. Our ideas may be worth listening to.
    -- Gigi Arntzen, Largo

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