Not in my back yard | story, Aug. 11
Time to protect natural areas
I realize that officials and developers may be hearing "not in my back yard," but I think that is limited listening. Just because they are hearing from affected parties due to the process doesn't mean people that live in other areas do not oppose.
The proposals outlined in Sunday's story are just a handful of the proposals out there.
I have heard from residents in Seminole (The Tides), Largo (Briarwood Travel Park), Dunedin (Union Street), East Lake (four development proposals in natural areas) and Tarpon Springs (natural acreage around Lake Tarpon), all voicing their concerns about losing natural areas near their homes.
Many trees are about to be lost and water demand is about to go up.
I appreciate the Tampa Bay Times for writing about the cumulative projects and impacts. None of these are in my back yard, but I oppose based on the fact we seem to be going in the wrong direction.
I feel if you listen closely enough, what will be heard is "Not in my back yard, not in my city, not in my county, not in my world." We are reaching a concrete saturation point.
It has nothing to do with how many parks and preserves we have. It has to do with natural spaces we see and experience on a daily basis.
All natural areas are part of our habitat, too.
Let's imagine we developed every square inch of Pinellas. After all that is complete, what are we going to do for the economy then?
We have a lot of good leadership in Pinellas County and in our cities, but we need more vision and that vision should include sustainability.
Right now, all I see are dead ends.
Barbara Walker, Clearwater Audubon Society
Former nursing home finds buyer | story, Aug. 11
Vote to rebid offer for aging facility
The Tarpon Springs City Commission is presenting a voter referendum for the March 2014 city election authorizing them to accept an $813,000 offer for the 3.46-acre site of the old nursing home on Walton Avenue. The existing old structure would be converted into an Alzheimer's nursing facility.
The recent Times article detailing the background of this potential sale identifies facts that should be disturbing to the residents of Tarpon.
Of significance was the fact that the city also had an offer of $900,000 for the same property. A construction firm with a higher bid offered to build a new housing complex.
Such a new complex would obviously offer a higher property tax base than an old, refurbished nursing home with rooms with one bed. However, as the article pointed out, the city could not accept the higher bid because of some technicality with the construction firm's check. For whatever reason, legal or procedural, the city could not start another bid process.
The nursing facility bidder is getting a bargain from the city by getting a structure already built as a nursing home. Cosmetic changes to the existing structure would minimize their overall expenses.
The construction firm would build a new housing complex from the ground up and pay $87,000 more to the city, which proves that such a new complex would be the highest and best use of the land, compared to an end-of-life Alzheimer's nursing facility.
It should be obvious to everyone that over the long run, the higher tax revenue for the city from a new housing complex would be substantial.
The voters of Tarpon Springs should give their city government the opportunity to rebid the nursing home property by voting against the March 2014 referendum to sell the property for $813,000.
Indifference and inertia is a condition that has overtaken our federal government. At least on the local level, our government and the press keep us informed and our vote can have a significant impact.
Kal Spirides, Tarpon Springs
Selling a new vision | story, Aug. 11
Avoid aquarium location problem
I don't understand why the city of Clearwater is trying to sell the public on having the proposed aquarium on the remote City Hall property located in no-man's land on Osceola Avenue instead of keeping it on the site of the (previously scheduled for demolition) Harborview Center, which is currently home to the Dolphin Tale attraction, a gift shop and the former production studio for the movie that put Clearwater on the so-called map.
Keeping the proposed aquarium on the Harborview Center site on Cleveland Street is about the only way the city could compensate for the economic devastation resulting from the Florida Department of Transportation re-routing beach-bound State Road 60 traffic off of downtown Clearwater to Court Street, and would maximize the millions of dollars the city has already invested in the Capitol Theatre and in revitalizing the Cleveland Streetscape.
Nancy McKibben, Palm Harbor