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    Letters to the Editors

    Tarpon Springs would benefit from dog park

    © St. Petersburg Times
    published December 20, 2001

    Re: Dog park in Tarpon Springs should not get public money, letter, Dec. 14.

    I believe that letter-writer Charles Sodaro must have taken nasty pills before he wrote this letter.

    The dog park project has been in the works for more than a year. When I began it, the first step was to meet with the Tarpon Springs Recreation Board to gauge interest in having and supporting a dog park. One board member said exactly the same thing as Mr. Sodaro: "Why don't you buy your own property and start your own park?"

    After months of research and several meetings, the board unanimously approved the concept. Why? I proved to them that there is a need for such a park in our area, a place for responsible dog owners to take their canine pals and let them socialize off-leash. It is a concept that has been proven successful in cities all over the country.

    I have visited parks in Sarasota, Bradenton and Delray Beach. There are dog parks in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Indian Rocks Beach and Anderson Park right here in Tarpon Springs. Are these communities stupid? I don't think so.

    My work on this park created great publicity (much of which came from the St. Petersburg Times), which generated interest and motivation for other communities to create these off-leash parks.

    Everyone in this country was devastated by the Sept. 11 attack on America. We all felt the pain and the loss that so many people endured. But it is important for communities to keep going and think of ways to boost the economy rather than holding back on projects important to the community.

    Shame on Tarpon Springs for holding off on an inexpensive project that I believe will bring revenue to the city. Many people travel with their pets and look for places to stay that offer these type of parks. They stay in RV parks or pet-friendly motels. Books for folks who travel with their pets list the communities that offer dog parks, pet-friendly hotels and motels, restaurants and more.

    I pay taxes, too, and I pay for many things that I do not use. I don't mind because good schools, beaches, parks and libraries are what make a good community. A dog park would only add an amenity that many people and dogs would enjoy.

    Mr. Sodaro lives in the unincorporated county. He doesn't even live in Tarpon Springs, so what the city spends its money on is really none of his business.

    One last thing about priorities, Mr. Sodaro. My priorities have always been to live and work in a community that I can be proud of. Not to pat myself on the back, but I have been involved in many projects here. I am a past president of the Friends of the Library and a member of Neighborhood Watch and the Code Enforcement Board. I have worked on projects to save our trees and brick streets. Why? Because I feel that these projects are beneficial and important to the community.
    -- Nancy G. Dively, Tarpon Springs

    Clearwater holiday parades deserved newspaper coverage

    Editor, thank you for the kind tributes to Sunset Sam. He will truly be missed.

    I do have a major disappointment that I would like to share with you and your readers.

    The weekend of Dec. 7, Clearwater held two annual events in which thousands of people participated. The Clearwater Holiday Parade and the Island Estates Lighted Boat Parade were awesome events in which the entire community could participate.

    Why was there not one picture in the Times of a float, kids marching, the lights on Cleveland Street, the lighted boats or a peaceful concert at Coachman Park?

    How about some positive reporting on our city, please.
    -- Pam Marks, Clearwater

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