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© St. Petersburg Times, published December 21, 2000
Re: City sprawl reaches far into wallets, Dec. 11 story.
I'm having a tough time coughing up any sympathy for those poor, put-upon Tampa Bay area drivers you so thoughtfully profiled in this story on the price of urban sprawl.
Yes, it's expensive to live 20, 30 or even 40 miles from where you work. Cars cost money -- roughly one-tenth of 1 percent of the purchase price every day, whether you go to work or not. And for any of those drivers to complain about the traffic is laughable; they are the traffic.
I live 3 miles from the office and commute by bicycle every day. The closeness was a matter of luck, and the bicycle a matter of choice. Tired of wasting all that time and money on your daily commute to the office? Move closer to work or get a new job close to home. Problem solved.
Instead of continually expecting the local highway departments to fix roads like U.S. 19 (that aren't broken), maybe we should do something about seriously lessening the traffic on those roads. Maybe some sensible personal planning is in order, before gas prices go through the roof, as so many are predicting. Are you smart enough and brave enough to get your life together and stop spending the bulk of it stuck in your car, complaining?
Of course, it's just a suggestion. You don't have to move or get a new job. You are, after all, free. Free to make those car payments, that insurance payment and keep that tank filled. (How many times a week?)
Free to be stuck in that monotonous, noxious, dangerous traffic for all of those hours every day and free to share the road with the driver quoted as saying, "There are times when I literally fall asleep at the wheel." Oh, yeah, that sounds like freedom to me.
-- Chip Haynes, Clearwater
Re: Planned expansion of Keswick Christian School.
Recent editions contained articles and letters regarding some concerns of neighbors both from the city of Seminole and in unincorporated Pinellas County about Keswick Christian School's plans to rebuild and improve its 27-acre campus.
One of my first actions upon being elected president of Orange Estates Civic Association more than a year ago was to meet with the Keswick headmaster, Shirley Owens, and tour the existing campus and discuss the plans for the future. Since Keswick is adjacent to Orange Estates, I was concerned about rumored plans and how they would affect our peaceful and quiet neighborhood.
Although I was disappointed that the school felt it necessary to annex its property into the city of Seminole (which I still consider unwise), I came away convinced that although the plans would entail some temporary inconvenience to our neighborhood due to construction, the overall goal to upgrade the campus would have a long-lasting positive effect on our neighborhood.
At the time I expressed to Owens my concern about the school's parking and traffic patterns, which caused havoc on 54th Avenue twice a day. She assured me the school would take action to alleviate this situation and true to her word, at the start of this school year the problem was eliminated. This action of Keswick Christian School proved to me that it is indeed a good neighbor, and we in Orange Estates are proud and pleased to have it as a neighbor.
To the members of our civic association who have expressed concern to me, I have assured them that while change is sometimes difficult, the attitude that Keswick Christian School has demonstrated proves that it is reasonable and committed to being Christ-like and would do nothing to harm our neighborhood.
-- Jim Donelon, president, Orange Estates Civic Association
Re: Sonny's swing kids, Nov. 27 Floridian story.
Congratulations on Lane DeGregory's wonderful article on musician Sonny LaRosa. What a refreshing piece on children who are so involved in music.
One of my former students, Megan Kelly, has worked/played in America's Youngest Jazz Band for several years. When she was a petite second-grader, she brought her trumpet to school to play a cute version of Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Besides improving her trumpet playing, Megan also sings very stylistically and plays drums in that group.
We are fortunate to have one generation passing on its musical heritage in Sonny LaRosa's manner.
-- Carol Hansuld, Largo
The city of Clearwater has spent and is spending huge amounts of money on development studies, the roundabout, parks and beautification projects. Now the city is claiming budget restraints and refusing certain maintenance in established areas. Case in point: We are told the city will no longer rid ponds and waterways of destructive vegetation. Let's take care of what we have before we add more.
-- Molly Davis, president, Imperial Park Condominium Association