Green space envy | story, March 24
Don't turn your back on city assets
As a new member this year of the Clearwater Parks and Recreation Board who has yet to attend a first meeting, I read with interest your story about Crest Lake Park and looking at Largo's Central Park as a comparison.
Although there are major differences, I believe Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos is correct with his interest and his wishes to make this centrally located Clearwater park a better place for residents. Some focus on criticizing his specific comments rather than taking note of his desire to reinstate it as a welcoming park and as an asset to all of Clearwater.
The reader improvement idea letters that followed the story showed the passion and love that exist for this park. Some of the ideas were solutions that did not burden our tax dollars. Other suggested improvements might be accomplished with some help through private partnerships with local businesses willing to reinvest in our community.
I agree with resident JoAnna Sisken that Crest Lake Park has jewel-like qualities that have diminished greatly over the years. I once read that Crest Lake Park was designed by the world-renowned landscape firm started by Frederick Law Olmsted, who is considered to be the father of American landscape architecture.
The "creepy-looking restrooms," as you described them, are not designed in a manner that embodies elements of Olmsted's park designs and are surely not original park features, but nevertheless are critical to the needs of residents who use the park, especially for the young children who frequent the playground area.
It has been said that the shuttering of these restrooms has not diminished the homeless population that has frequented this park, and it is my belief that one way to diminish this is to increase park use by neighborhood and Clearwater residents.
One new Clearwater resident (who wrote a letter to the editor) believed in "fiscal responsibility" — a very proper need — and that little money should be spent on this park. He preferred to have monies spent improving roads, amongst other things. I point to the fact that our continual and expanding and "improved" roads never really seem to end and they encourage some residents to turn their backs on reinvesting in Clearwater's historic central neighborhoods.
To residents who turn their backs on areas that are still beautiful and full of potential, I reply simply: These areas will eventually make an incredible leap back to popularity as vested residents see the potential. The events of the early 2000s in Clearwater did not help, when the referendum for redeveloping downtown failed due to a successful derailment led by older, historically active residents and their scare tactics. That is taking some time to overcome.
To those that maintain, or are considering, roots here in Clearwater, I say lend your voice, your influence and your future votes. If you turn your back on Crest Lake Park, the surrounding residential areas, the gateway area and on our downtown, then years from now, Clearwater could be a lot different from what many hope it may again be.
Ric Ortega, Clearwater
Crest Lake Park
City proves it doesn't have the solution
The leaders of Clearwater have proven many times they, as a group, really don't have a clue as to doing what is best for the majority of citizens of this community.
Clearwater has poured thousands of dollars into the downtown area, which benefits the Church of Scientology. They have ignored Crest Lake Park for years, thus allowing criminals, vagrants and others to roam the park to the extent that the best solution the city leaders could come up with was to weld the bathroom doors shut.
Now, our leaders are telling the citizens that they will come up with ideas to enhance Crest Lake Park. As a person who was born in Clearwater and has watched as our leaders catered to the Scientologists and homeless instead of taking care of the citizens who pay taxes and deserve a nice park, I believe they don't have what it takes to pull this off.
Simply put, unless the City of Clearwater and the Clearwater Police Department stop letting workers use the park as their personal lunch/break area, and patrol the park on bikes or on foot as often as necessary to keep out the vagrants, criminals and others who make this park unsafe and unappealing, no amount of money will bring good families and good people back to enjoy what was once a Clearwater jewel.
The city manager and his chief of police just don't seem to have this project on the agenda.
R. Padgett, Clearwater
Egg drop crowd was a surprise | letter, April 3
Focus more on making it better
How sad that Dunedin Parks and Recreation director Vince Gizzi felt the need to apologize for the helicopter Easter egg drop.
Yes, there were some logistical issues. It was the first time it had ever been done and the large crowd was totally unexpected. But the negative comments, criticisms and incredible sense of entitlement exhibited by people who were there were totally uncalled-for.
We are fortunate to live in a city wherein the staff does so many fun things for the kids and the community on a regular basis, all with great organization, creativity and good times had by all.
How about the whiners and naysayers give it a rest, and let Mr. Gizzi and his staff take the suggestions offered and incorporate them into next year's event planning?
And for those adults who walked out with full baskets of eggs — shame on you. How about a little less greed and little more generosity the next time and consider giving a few to "all the crying children" who left empty-handed?
Annie Chewcaskie, Dunedin
Thanks to those who rescued me
Last Thursday, my puppy ran away. She was hard to catch but I finally did. It was on Belcher Road in Palm Harbor.
I tried to get up the hill to my home but could not and fell down the hill with my puppy in my arms. I thank God that my little puppy was not hurt. I was, however.
There were three cars that stopped to help me — one wonderful lady and two wonderful men. They were able to get me on my feet because I was lying on Belcher Road. They drove me home and would not leave me until I called someone to be with me.
In the state I was in, I did not think to get their names, but I sure wish I had. This is the only way that I thought, maybe, I would be able to thank them from the bottom of my heart.
Pamela Brower, Palm Harbor