Future of downtown requires teamwork, Diane Steinle column, June 27
Revitalization, at what cost
You wrote an excellent, informative article on the latest analysis and advice by yet another group of experts to Clearwater officials and residents on the necessity of working with the Church of Scientology to insure progress in the successful growth of the city's downtown.
As a resident since 1967, I remember a vibrant Cleveland Street followed by a steady decline of businesses and the growth of empty storefronts, which was too sad. I agree with the expert panel from the Urban Land Institute that a relationship between the city and the church must come to fruition, but relationships are based on reciprocity. Without it, their suggestions are not going to have an environment conducive for revitalizing the area.
The experts had nothing to say about the gutted former 1100 Building on Cleveland Street or the lack of construction at the old bank building, which are both eyesores. Coachman Park and the waterfront would benefit from the razing of the Harborview Center on the north side of Cleveland Street. The giant condominium, Water's Edge, erected on the south side, and the bridge to Memorial Causeway block the view of the Intracoastal Waterway from the bluff at the western end of Cleveland Street.
For approximately 40 years, residents have watched the downtown disappear bit by bit. Agendas, plans and studies costing hundreds of thousands of dollars have not helped. How much more money will be added to this staggering sum?
Is a multimillion dollar aquarium the catalyst that will rejuvenate Clearwater or is it throwing good money after bad?
Patricia Bates Smith, Clearwater
Diversity builds strength
As our very small contingent of walkers from Unity of St. Petersburg rounded the corner from the staging area onto the St. Petersburg Pride parade route, I was immediately awed by the overwhelming show of support and love from the tens of thousands of people longing to be loved and accepted for who they are.
This has been the reason for our group's participation each year in the Pride Parade. We aren't trying to spread any religious doctrine or recruit people. We just want to share our love, support and acceptance of everyone no matter what our differences may be. The more we know about each other and the more we start understanding the beliefs and differences of each other, the stronger our communities will become.
I'm so proud of St. Petersburg for stepping forward and helping us spread the message that an open and diverse community is a healthy and stronger community. Good job St. Petersburg!
J. Larry McElveen, Safety Harbor
Library move opposed, story, June 27
Never too late to change
Interesting comment by the Clearwater mayor that it is too late (for residents to object to moving the Countryside Library, a decision the city made a year ago). Since when is preventing something costlier and unnecessary an action that is to be discounted?
The library really needs to stay where it is, and if more room is needed, use one of the conference rooms. It is a totally unnecessary move and not what many of us wanted. Where were we? Speaking out just as we are today.
Mrs. Harriet P. Sherwood, Clearwater