Teens may be best hope | Column, April 4
Bring families, life back to BayWalk
In Sandra Gadsden's excellent article about BayWalk, she focuses on the missed opportunity of the teen market that was (and is) in abundance in family-friendly St. Petersburg. Why didn't anyone see that teens needed someplace to go, whether it was a virtual business or, better yet, a skateboard park?
Instead, the whole situation got overblown and was handled poorly. We became the laughingstock of the bay area when a minority of unruly teenagers and a couple of small groups of protesters caused such strife. On top of all this, the panhandling situation was, and is, a major disincentive for people going to BayWalk.
As stated by Gadsden, there have been a couple of major missed opportunities with vital tenants. T.G.I. Friday's contacted us four times in one week about the lack of affordable family pubs in Pinellas. They were open to BayWalk. Unfortunately, they have located a new restaurant near Tyrone Square Mall.
The Old Spaghetti Factory voiced similar enthusiasm about BayWalk. We had an extensive and upbeat conversation with their national real estate director. Again, it all fell on deaf ears.
The question that Gadsden raised about all those new restaurants and clubs locating throughout downtown is the most relevant. Why not BayWalk? That plaza has an ambience found nowhere else in town. What's going on?
Rand Moorhead, Urban Design Consortium, LLC, St. Petersburg
Sarasota offers refreshing change
Living in south Pinellas and having convenient access to I-275, I travel to Sarasota several times a week for dining, museums, theater and movies. Sarasota doesn't have metered parking or gangs of kids, and panhandlers and the homeless aren't an issue where we go.
Sarasota has a beautiful waterfront, as do Palmetto and Bradenton, with restaurants and strolling afterward at one's leisure and safe.
It's an easy drive south across the Sunshine Skyway and a beautiful drive, too. Forget downtown St. Petersburg. We have.
Elvina L. Bergmann, St. Pete Beach
City should get rid of derelict vessels
The view from the beach area at Maximo Park in south St. Petersburg should be seen by all as a disgrace: a sailboat that has run aground and sits on its keel sideways and a sunken houseboat. These boats have been in this condition for several months.
I am disappointed that the city has let this eyesore remain for so long. If Mayor Bill Foster would like to remain in office, then it would be wise of him to take some initiative to fix this problem.
This situation is ridiculous as I see city workers throughout St. Petersburg just driving around aimlessly, or parked taking a nap/break. I guarantee if Foster had visitors come in from out of town and saw these abandoned/eyesore vessels, they would be taken care of.
Bryan Rada, St. Petersburg
Columbus ship replicas
Missed the boat, not happy about it
I read in the North Pinellas Times Saturday, April 3, about the two replica ships, the Niña and Pinta, at Gators Café open for tours "until Monday" and thought it would be a great way to spend an afternoon. My wife and I packed up the kids and drove one hour to John's Pass. You can imagine the disappointment we all felt when we arrived and found out the ships left on March 31! I am very disappointed in the Times for not catching a blunder like that.
Mike Ritt, Palm Harbor