Use 100 acres for preserve, not sports
I read in disgust that our county commissioners are proposing to designate 100 acres along Old Keystone Road, which should be made part of the Brooker Creek Preserve, to be used not just for ballfields, but for a huge sports complex. What's also disgusting is the unspoken plans for how these ballfields will be paid for.
The land and the costs of the sports complex development will be paid for with Penny for Pinellas sales tax. Afterward, the county will lease the complex to a private entity (East Lake Youth Sports Association, or ELYSA) for $1 a year for 30 years with intentions to eventually turn over the development to them.
That is not a bad deal for ELYSA, but it is a bad deal for taxpayers because ELYSA is so far northeast that it is more conveniently located to Pasco and Hillsborough counties. Consequently, many of these county youth use this association but don't have to contribute toward the costs as do Pinellas taxpayers.
Let's stop our commissioners from making a big mistake that will cost taxpayers millions, and let's stop them from destroying 100 acres of land that can serve as a natural refuge for people and wildlife.
Joel Orloff, Palm Harbor