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Pinellas letters: Beach driving hurts Treasure Island asset

Re: DEP tames beach events | Aug. 1

Dunes and driving

We agree the beach is a great place for events; we have sponsored many. However the beach is no place for street vehicles, which are destroying the qualities that make Treasure Island beach our most valuable resource — qualities that include a safe place for families to visit, tranquility, wildlife habitats, and most of all, hurricane protection.

The Florida Legislature in the 1980s determined that beach driving and parking poses a significant risk to beaches and beachgoers' safety and has prohibited beach traffic in all Florida coastal communities but for a small handful, most notably Daytona Beach. The Treasure Island City Commission is not immune to the law.

In recent years we've learned a lot about what good beach management is and what it is not. Hurricane Sandy taught beach communities an expensive lesson about the value of healthy beaches and dunes. Most of the homes, businesses and infrastructure that survived Sandy stand because they were located behind healthy dunes. Sand dunes cannot thrive, build or expand when the beach is rutted and compacted by vehicles.

We invited Dr. Robert Young, the director for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western North Carolina University to study the Treasure Island beach. His assessment is alarming: The area where the vehicles have been parking is low, compacted and defenseless against storm surge, compared to other areas of the beach where the dunes are forming nicely. The illegal beach traffic is leaving our hotels as well as Gulf Boulevard and downtown incredibly vulnerable.

We have repeatedly tried to work with the city to allow events that don't harm the beach, to no avail. There is no need to park and drive cars on the beach to hold events. We are confident we will prevail at trial Dec. 8.

Arthur Czyszczon, Page Terrace Beachfront Hotel; David King, Thunderbird Beach Resort and Tahitian Beach Motel; Kevin McInerney, Windjammer Resort Motel, Treasure Island

Re: SPCA facility is window dressing | letter by Joseph A. Ciccolini, Aug. 1

Inside the SPCA

As a volunteer and having a rescue dog from the SPCA of Tampa Bay, I feel I must respond to this letter. In my opinion, there is a great deal of difference between his letter and reality.

One of the missions of the SPCA is to keep animals with their families. Many have to surrender their pets due to financial hardship, thus one reason for the wellness clinic. Low-cost health care is one of the ways the SPCA can help those families keep their pet.

The SPCA does not pre-select any breed. I believe that is a most preposterous statement and know it to be totally untrue. It is not a boutique pet store for any breed.

Dogs and all animals do not relieve themselves on a timetable, just like people. After a thorough cleaning in the morning, an animal may relieve himself again, which is cleaned up as soon as possible. To say the grounds and kennels are filthy is another false statement. I am at the SPCA all hours of the day. Never have I seen what Mr. Ciccolini alleges.

Rather than write a hateful or untrue letter, possibly he could spend time volunteering, as it seems he has little else to do. The SPCA is a most worthy cause. It cares for those animals brought in by surrendering, abuse, accidents and hoarding. The dogs are walked twice a day, given love, training and spend time in the play yard interacting with other dogs.

Thank God for the SPCA.

Betsie W. Scott, Clearwater

Parking logistics

I tried to attend a movie matinee today at the Muvico Sundial in downtown St. Petersburg, but the parking garage was full due to an event on the waterfront. Not wanting to pay nearly the cost of a movie ticket to park in one of the few lots within walking distance, I came home — because all of the downtown meters are for a maximum of two hours.

Movies routinely exceed two hours, and one might want to also walk around and shop or have a meal, so why can't the meters be reset to three or four hours? If anything, the city would get more parking revenue, and the local economy could also get a boost. Where's the downside here?

Peter Ford, St. Petersburg

Re: Plans call for Central in lights, story, July 25

Clean the concrete

As a downtown St. Pete resident in love with my location, I have a piece of advice for the group of artists planning to illuminate Central Avenue.

Buy a pressure washer before turning on the lights. The sidewalk on Central Avenue between Second and Third streets is disgusting! Take a walk.

Cecelia LeClair, St. Petersburg

Pinellas letters: Beach driving hurts Treasure Island asset 08/09/14 [Last modified: Saturday, August 9, 2014 3:25pm]
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