Plan is in place to resume building
Regarding Cypress Creek Town Center construction comes to halt (April 2), we want to assure the residents of Pasco County that we remain committed to moving forward on this project.
Although there was no measurable damage, the timing of the substantial rainfall event earlier this year that caused a release of muddy water at the Cypress Creek Town Center construction site was very unfortunate. It occurred just as our contractor was installing permanent structures designed to control flooding and prevent such discharges into the wetlands and Cypress Creek.
As a result of this incident, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers suspended our wetland permit. We, in turn, voluntarily stopped all construction due to the logistical challenges of working around the wetlands.
We have established a remediation plan to allow construction to proceed. As part of this plan, we retained Tampa-based Biological Research Associates to independently monitor the construction site and provide assurance that our contractor's activities will not compromise the surrounding environment.
Once completed, Cypress Creek Town Center will feature over 1-million square feet of retail space with pedestrian-friendly streets, a children's play area, sidewalk cafés and a variety of planned events for families and community groups.
Economically, Cypress Creek Town Center will provide more than 3,800 new full-time job opportunities, annual revenues of $6-million for the county and $2.4-million for the school system and for those traveling on SR 54/56 from U.S. 41 to I-75 the drive will be easier as we widen these roads from four lanes to six.
We've taken extraordinary measures to protect the surrounding environment and sincerely regret the unfortunate situation caused by this unusual rain event. We remain committed to bringing a first-class shopping, dining and entertainment venue to the people of Pasco County and pledge to be a good and environmentally responsible neighbor.
Thomas P. Schmitz
Vice president, the Richard E. Jacobs Group, developer of Cypress Creek Town Center
Resolution had false information
Recently, I questioned the accuracy of statements in a resolution. My political opponents and others tried to attack my position and questioned my leadership particularly as it relates to the environment and tourism. I did not support the resolution because it contained false information, and I would not just rubber stamp it to please a special interest group.
This is a synopsis of my environmental work on behalf of Pasco County. Three years ago, after I attended a U.S. Green Building seminar, I introduced into the county's comprehensive land use plan language to encourage green building.
This is the first county to do so. Since, we have had two workshops in Pasco and the U.S. Green Building Council elected me honorary chairman and the Pasco Builders Association formed its own green building committee, of which I am a member.
After hearing of an ethanol presentation, I asked Paul Hauck of Enviro Fuels to make a presentation to the commission.
As a result, the commission formed the ethanol committee, of which I am chairman.
The committee is actively moving forward on this promising fuel. We are in the early planning stages of creating an ethanol plant at the Pasco water-to-energy plant, using an existing facility. I believe this will save the taxpayers of Pasco County money in gas.
At our last green building workshop, a gentleman stated he was going to build a manufacturing distribution sales center for solar energy. As a result of the workshop, he wants to locate the center in Pasco. We have already had one meeting with the Pasco Economic Development Council and we are excited this national primary industry will have its home base in Pasco.
Tourism is important to Pasco economically. As Tourist Development Council chairman, I brought to the commission the idea to form the Pasco County Sports Commission after attending yet another conference.
The commission approved it unanimously. We now have the opportunity to receive grant money from the Florida Sports Foundation. We received our first grant at the Wesley Chapel Athletic Association lacrosse tournament for $7,000. The event had an economic impact to the area of $530,000.
My job is to protect the health, safety and welfare of Pasco residents. This takes leadership. It's what voters elected me to do and it is what I will continue to do.
County Commission, District 5
Statement about Mariano unfair
I subscribe to the St. Peters-
burg Times because the National Enquirer is a weekly paper and I can read innuendo and lies almost every day in the St. Petersburg Times.
First off, Jack Mariano did not back oil drilling in the gulf. He simply did not back the resolution of a commissioner wanting to send a resolution to the congressional representatives.
For the Times to characterize Commissioner Mariano as a "guy who earns income for pushing gas-guzzling luxury cars" is ludicrous. No different than saying the writer, C.T. Bowen, earns an income by pushing products made by the lumber and, hence, paper industry. It's a personal attack or mudslinging that the paper or any of its employees should be above.
As for the statement made by Mr. Bowen, "If there is an accident, business tanks at the beaches, motels, charter fishing boats, swimsuit and T-shirt stores, restaurants, bars and other retailers," the same can be said for the stories published in the Times regarding murders, thefts, accidents and local politics. The Times may look at it as reporting the news, but others may look at it as showing the darker side of Pasco County, which will push tourists and potential residents away.
The bottom line is the Times and its employees have a forum to express their views and have people like me, subscribers, pay to read their views. Fortunately, we also have a voice in our vote to disagree with forums like the Times and elect the official we think, will do the best job for the citizens of our area. In this case, that's Jack Mariano.
Ray Mackin, New Port Richey
Issue now is polluted beaches
I find it amusing that local government and the press are spending so much time on a federal/state issue that's well down the road and may never happen.
The development of all forms of energy carries some risk. I think nuclear energy has a far greater risk than drilling for oil in the gulf. I would be opposed to drilling only because it will continue to put billions of dollars in the big oil companies' pockets.
There's a more immediate issue that has a greater impact on our coastline and beaches. It's here now and nobody seems to be doing a thing about it.
I've been a Pasco resident for 19 years and can't swim at Hudson Beach. That's because of the high bacteria count that has been there for years.
The beach is closed more than it's open. It's a wonder tourists return to this area.
What's being done about it? If there's nobody in the county capable of tracing the source, then hire someone from the outside. Get it fixed.
John Snee, Bayonet Point