Puny staff not enough for parks
Have you visited your favorite park lately? Perhaps you have noticed an overall change in the appearance.
Since the advent of Amendment 1 and declining property values in Florida, our parks have become the "sacrificial lambs" to help make up the budget deficits being experienced in our cities, county and state.
As the former park supervisor of Sand Key Park from 1989 to 2002, I speak as one of many who dedicated themselves to not only the maintenance, but also the preservation of parkland resources and safety of our visitors. I look at the overall decline in appearance of Sand Key Park with sadness as the current supervisor has to meet the maintenance, supervision and safety challenges with a crew of six taking care of a park that hosts over a million visitors a year. I was fortunate to have a crew of 11 to do these tasks.
I don't have the answers to the budget shortfalls that we now face in government. I only know that our parklands are precious resources that need to be not only protected by dedicated staff, but need to be supported by the public as well.
Please address your concerns about Pinellas County parks to parks director Paul Cozzie at (727) 464-3347. You can find the number for city as well as state parks in the blue section of the white pages of the phone book.
Fred Bruder, Seminole
Visionary effort, immeasurable value editorial, Aug. 13
A dunderheaded idea in Dunedin
Some people believe that the government can never own too much land. They are called socialists.
When did the notion that anyone and everyone had a right to view the open water become law? If there are people who favor maintaining this Dunedin parcel's unobstructed view, they should join together and purchase it with their own money. Just keep your sticky fingers off my wallet. And make no mistake, it is taxpayer money.
The people who view grants as "free money" must realize that those funds came out of the pocket of a productive American in Denver or Pittsburgh or Minneapolis, all as a result of a convoluted redistribution of wealth scheme.
Aside from the greed and envy of a small group of special interests, there is no good reason for the city of Dunedin to buy this land. It is not pristine. It is not environmentally sensitive. It contains no endangered species. It is simply buildable.
Instead of buying more land, the city should divest itself of all nonessential or underutilized parcels. Put these lands back on the tax rolls to promote commerce and provide jobs. It's the economy, stupid!
I guess we no longer need to wonder why there is no money for essential services when we have the same local government carnival barkers cheerleading these hare-brained ideas.
Joe Paige, Clearwater
Trail bridge is a joy for bicyclist
I rode my Schwinn to Clearwater Beach last weekend to check out the new Mandalay Channel trail bridge and I just have to say, good job, Clearwater!
The new trail bridge is a joy to use, and for those of you who were waiting for a safe way to ride your bicycle to Clearwater Beach, your wait is over. Go, ride and be safe. You'll love it.
My compliments to the city for a job well done and a wonderful bridge to the beach. The trail connections from the public marina to Pier 60 to Beach Walk were easy, and Beach Walk is an absolute delight, with plenty of bicycle racks and water fountains.
Overall, it looks as though Clearwater Beach is getting serious about being a great destination for local bicyclists. As a local bicyclist, I like that.
Now all they have to do is connect the Memorial Causeway bike path to the Pinellas Trail in downtown Clearwater and it will be perfect.
Chip Haynes, Clearwater