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© St. Petersburg Times, published December 15, 2000
When you want to do something unpopular, there is a strategy that goes like this: Eliminate your options in order to convince people that your plan now has to go forward. Well, folks, we better wake up because our options are being eliminated to accommodate the interests of a few.
The city of Clearwater, in concert with the Phillies, has been pushing to build a new stadium/sports complex with shops and restaurants on top of the old landfill across from St. Petersburg Junior College at Drew Street and Old Coachman Road. But they are being vigorously opposed by a growing organization of local homeowners from the surrounding neighborhoods, which quickly realized the devastation to their property values that this intrusion would cause.
The whole area is experiencing an epidemic of sinkholes, with more than 30 homes now having claims serviced for damages. This, on top of ongoing flooding problems in the adjacent College Hill neighborhood, will set up these homeowners for accelerated losses from impact of the construction upon the sinkhole activity, not to mention the loss of the neighborhoods' property values because of exploding traffic conditions, loud concerts, fireworks and sports revelers partying into the night and flying through these neighborhood streets.
The Northeast Clearwater Regional Homeowners Group has met several times with the city and urged it to stay away from the Drew Street landfill and Carpenter Field locations and consider other options. The first consideration for a new Phillies stadium is the present location at Jack Russell Stadium. With its 16.9 acres, there is sufficient land for the new complex. Why not build the new complex with its improvements and retail opportunities where it currently exists and enhance its present community rather than trash hundreds of homes in an unwanted location?
What is the benefit to us, the homeowners and taxpayers of Clearwater? Phillies fans are already going to the games where they are being played, just give them the new stadium there.
-- Nick Champlin, Clearwater
What a pleasure to read of the accomplishments of the youngsters in your Nov. 30 editorial, Congratulations to some special young people.
The girl, Ryan McCullers, receives all of our admiration for her sensitivity to others not as fortunate as she. And then to read about the Tarpon Springs High School marching band was just the icing on the cake.
I don't believe anyone not connected with these youngsters realizes the hours they (and their parents) put into their work.
How wonderful to read of these youngsters, when usually the news is filled with misery and death. Let's have more of these inspiring pieces.
-- Betty Gannon, Largo