Park, ride, stop, shop and work | Jan. 10, story
Consider one more site for depot
This story says one of the sites on the narrowed-down list for a new downtown transportation hub includes an area between Sixth and Seventh streets and Central and First avenues S. I see unneeded expense at this site since the land has buildings and pavement.
I recommend looking just a few blocks southwest at the land between First and Second avenues S and Seventh and Eighth streets. The land is clear other than a small building that used to be a convenience store. Here you are off Central Avenue, which doesn't need the extra congestion.
This site, unlike A, D, E on the map that accompanied the story, will spur development to the western downtown and Dome area while alleviating more traffic congestion within inner downtown.
I recall plans for a hotel in this area, but this still leaves the land between Eighth and Ninth streets from First and Second avenues S.
A bus hub on my recommended site shouldn't interfere with plans for a hotel. However, if the plans for a hotel are dead, the land allows for spin-off development on Ninth Street south of First Avenue and can be utilized for bus traffic, parking and amenities.
Derrick V. Battle,
Nonprofit not sorry about perks | Jan. 10, story
Parting gift could have helped people
I would like to offer my 2 cents worth regarding Mary Jo Monahan's departing appreciation gift from the board of Family Service Centers.
In any environment, much less in today's very tough economic one, one would think that the board would have had more foresight to see how the $154,591 could have been put to a much better use, such as serving the people.
I do not begrudge some token of appreciation, but wasn't Monahan ably recompensed for her job? It appears that it is too late to do anything about the gift. Nevertheless, I certainly hope that, as a citizen of Pinellas County, those who voted to make the gift no longer represent me in any other official or eleemosynary capacity in the future.
Richard T. Wan, Tarpon Springs
Ferris wheel adds necessary spin
The redevelopment of the Pier in St. Petersburg needs clear thinking. It needs to offer something that you cannot find anywhere else in the area. Having restaurants and shops is not going to attract enough people to help make a redeveloped Pier survive. After all, you can go down any street to find shopping and food.
The "new" Pier needs to be a destination offering something you cannot find anywhere else in a four-county area.
I suggest a Ferris wheel. A large Ferris wheel would offer a view of all the surrounding counties; this view would entice every citizen to experience it at least once, whereas just a food and shop attraction would not. This large Ferris wheel would be a new landmark for St. Petersburg, and every family hosting out-of-town guests would be proud to show off this unique perspective.
Orlando is building a large Ferris wheel, and that town knows how to attract visitors.
Please consider this attraction. It would guarantee a successful re-development and bring in many customers for any restaurants and shops that will be built in a new Pier.
J. Scott Hoffman, St. Petersburg
Implode approach, use several boats
I have followed with interest the articles concerning St. Petersburg's Pier and the high cost of upgrading the deteriorating approach to the Pier, which is structurally sound.
My suggestion would be to implode the approach and use the resulting rubble as riprap to reinforce the sea walls along the waterfront parks, many of which look like they are nearing the end of their useful life.
Then, rather than rebuilding the approach for millions of dollars, sell the trolleys and buy several boats to ferry visitors out to the Pier. A free boat ride would be a huge attraction in itself. Perhaps the round trip could cost a nominal amount with no charge if the rider made a purchase at the Pier. There might be other boat cruises available to Weedon Island or around Snell Isle.
The parking area could remain as is. All that would be needed is a boarding dock and waiting area. I rode the Downtown Looper recently, and the driver gave a really interesting commentary about St. Petersburg history along the way. Similarly, the boat captains could mention a few interesting facts about the Pier's history.
Now, if you walk to the Pier, there are interesting eco-information placards about Tampa Bay posted along the walk. This information could be incorporated onto the boats or in the waiting area.
I believe that Pier visitation would actually increase, and the bottom line for taxpayers would be far less than for some of the grander ideas being considered.
Jeanne Jackson, St. Petersburg