Clearwater Beach parking garage
Focus on traffic before parking
The Clearwater City Council has signaled loud and clear that it doesn't care and outright will not listen to its constituents in regard to the problems and needs of our beautiful barrier island. It's a clear case of an addiction to revenue. The buzzword right now is parking. However, parking is not the No. 1 problem on Clearwater Beach. It's traffic.
Yes, the north side of Clearwater Beach could use more parking, but by not fixing the traffic issue first, the City Council is going to exacerbate the issue further by permitting an additional 520-plus cars to come onto the north end of Clearwater Beach.
On weekends during the spring and summer, it could take a property tax-paying resident of north Clearwater Beach anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes just to go to Publix on Island Estates to grocery shop, and then spend that much time or more to get back home. Why? Because we're sitting in beach traffic. That trip should take no longer than 15 minutes, at any time.
State Road 60 is a slow-moving parking lot to get onto the beach, sometimes backing up as far back as Keene Road, some four miles of backed-up beach traffic.
However, the city only visualizes the additional revenue. This new revenue venture of putting in a seven-story parking garage on top of the already existing 124-space parking lot behind the Pelican Walk Shopping Center will increase the city's precious parking cartel by a whopping 17 percent.
Instead of spending any parking revenue on this proposed parking garage now, how about fixing the traffic issue first. Simply take out the crosswalks that immediately stop traffic right at the main roundabout. It's time to build three pedestrian crossover bridges and take out the crosswalks. The beach is too busy to allow pedestrians the pleasure of nine crosswalks from the main roundabout to the north beach roundabout. In fact, it's time to take out the roundabout and install a three-way traffic signal. This isn't our grandparents' quaint beach anymore.
Ideas like these will immediately alleviate most of the traffic conundrum and then we'll be happy to accommodate 520-plus more cars on our beautiful beach.
If not, it may be time again for Clearwater Beach to revisit independence in 2016. Enough is enough.
Chaz Roberts, Clearwater
Fenway hotel sold to Taoist nonprofit | story, June 14
Fenway will add tourism revenue
Anyone concerned that the Taoist Tai Chi Society buying the Fenway won't boost tax revenue and tourism doesn't understand the draw that this wonderful center will become. Already on the society's Facebook page there are many posts from people looking forward to visiting, especially in the winter, of course.
I know they will also love the beautiful walk up to downtown Dunedin and the great shops and restaurants, not to mention the very short walk to the baseball field in March.
The only important difference between this and a for-profit hotel is that these visitors are much more likely to favor walking and transit over cars, so residents can only be reassured that the traffic concerns surrounding the Fenway should be greatly alleviated.
Rebecca Hendricks, Clearwater
Don't give up on historic resort
There has been, in the past, a lot of misinformation regarding the Belleview Biltmore hotel.
It has been stated that the hotel is "too far gone to save" and this is wrong. Several high-level, certified architects have evaluated the hotel and find that the "bones" are solid. (It was built with the type of pine that eventually turns to stone).
It has also been in print (over and over) that the residential planned development folks that live on the property fully support demolition and replacement with condos. This is also not true. The board, which is comprised of mostly members aligned and affiliated with the Belleair Country Club, have expressed their view (not ours). I think it is noteworthy that two residents of the property have joined in the second lawsuit to save the hotel and many of the folks living here (as we do) feel the same way.
There is a website to donate to the saving of the hotel and we would urge all those in favor of saving historic treasures for the next generation to enjoy to visit the website: http://igg.me/at/friendsofthebelleviewbiltmorelegalfund/x/6500159.
Karmen and T.C. Hayes, Belleair