Plan disregards threat to wildlife
I am horrified to learn that our county commissioners want to go forward with the proposed 100-acre East Lake Youth Sports Association expansion on Old Keystone Road in Tarpon Springs.
Old Keystone Road is one of the last settings of its kind in Pinellas County. It is quiet, peaceful and undeveloped — truly a small slice of what Florida used to be. This area is habitat for abundant wildlife, including some endangered species. The proposed expansion will endanger that wildlife and destroy this peaceful setting.
As a taxpayer, I am furious that our county commissioners are so willing to allow ELYSA such a deal (a lease of $1 a year for 30 years — tax free) at taxpayers' expense.
With declining school enrollments and so many vital public services receiving cuts in funding, how is this expansion even justified, and why should the taxpayers of Pinellas County foot the bill?
Move the expansion to Pasco County or Hillsborough County, since a large number of the children who utilize the current ELYSA complex are not even residents of Pinellas County.
Surely, the taxpayers of Pinellas County would agree that there are more important issues that deserve our hard-earned tax dollars, not this ball field expansion. Just say no.
Roberta Lawson, St. Petersburg
Taxpayers should be the priority
I'm a homeowner who's struggling to pay my property taxes and fears losing my home. Yet, I read that our county government is proposing to spend taxpayers' money on a ballfield expansion that will benefit players who don't live in this county and don't pay taxes here. Come on, county commissioners! In these hard times, please prioritize and support what is important for your citizens: police, teachers, etc.
Valerie Rooks, Clearwater
More traffic will kill more animals
I live close to where the county is proposing a 100-acre expansion of the East Lake Youth Sports Association ball fields. ELYSA's current location on Old Keystone Road, which encompasses 27 acres of ballfields, is only feet from the proposed expansion site.
I am saddened to see all the wildlife killed by the traffic generated from the current ELYSA complex. In the past week I've seen a dead raccoon, turtle and endangered fox squirrel.
This area is inhabited by numerous species that are currently in danger from excessive traffic and will be put in greater danger by this expansion.
Please don't allow this to happen to our vulnerable wildlife. Place the ELYSA expansion elsewhere and let our wildlife live in peace.
Justin Gimeno, Palm Harbor
Re: Elevate those who do so much good, Lester Aradi guest column, Sept. 26
Advice for all to better ourselves
The guest column written by Lester Aradi (Largo's chief of police) was both honest and insightful.
I admit that on occasion, I, too, bad-mouth others for some picayune issue that really doesn't amount to a hill of beans. And by doing so, it labels me as one of those people who is "emotionally drowning" and therefore feels the need to pull others down in order to feel better about myself.
The next time I catch myself "drowning" (I'm sure there will be a next time because, after all, I'm only human), I'll think about Aradi's column and try to pull myself up before it's too late.
Just remember to "elevate."
JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater