Softball wouldn't hurt you, Heritage Springs | April 4, column
Study the impact of softball fields
C.T. Bowen's observations suffer from frequent maladies too often observed in newspaper reports. He relies on a couple of anecdotal stories to make a whole truth from something much more complicated. He attributes the statements of a few Heritage Springs residents to be the sentiments of the whole. He labels our voices to be disingenuous. On one point, he is factually incorrect. He says the sports complex will be across Trinity Boulevard from us. Wrong. It is on our doorstep, its proposed fences bounding our property, up close and personal. Consequently, I believe Mr. Bowen is the disingenuous one.
Mr. Bowen's comments sever truth from reality. The people of Heritage Springs unanimously seek the following required legal impact studies: the extent of likely noise and lighting incursion; possible detrimental effects to traffic congestion and safety on Trinity Boulevard; and water flow problems from the wetlands that are part of the proposed parcel, as they create additional problems for our existent circumstances in Heritage Springs.
There are many other issues, such as diminution of property values as we struggle to maintain a viable 55-and-older community, but these are speculative, subject to argument. What we seek is hard, quantified data.
We at Heritage Springs face a commercial enterprise with at least five adult fields operating into the wee hours; we ask for required impact studies. Mr. Bowen's superficial observations notwithstanding, we will pursue information until we are satisfied that all has been done in a legal, ethical and moral process.
Bob Berry, vice president, Heritage Springs Homeowners Association
Sportsplex goal is making money
I have checked a Sportsplex USA-run adult softball schedule online for one month. It shows numerous games beginning between 8 and 10 p.m. This means these lighted fields will stay lit, noise will be heard (batting, cheering and car doors slamming) till well after midnight.
The Land O'Lakes Recreation Center is nothing like a Sportsplex facility. It includes an indoor area and pool, which might make it "significantly larger," but it is a local recreation center built for the local community. You are comparing apples to oranges.
The Sportsplex is being built to attract out-of-town adult leagues. It is supposed to be a money-making proposition. The county is counting on people coming from out of the area and staying overnight in hotels. It will include a restaurant and a pub. It is not being built for kids to use. They can use it when the adult games are not scheduled — Monday to Thursday, 3 to 5 p.m. But I wonder if the kids' teams will be charged for the use of the facility.
Heritage Springs is absolutely right to protest the proposed location of the Sportsplex. It will have a terrible impact on the quality of life. It belongs in an open area, not 200 yards from someone's house.
I also take issue with your derogatory tone regarding the Heritage Springs residents. You obviously don't know them. Every year in December groups within the community donate more for the Salvation Army's abused victims then any other groups in the area. Just ask the Salvation Army if you want to know about the people of Heritage Springs. The community also raises a lot of money for the Special Olympics every year. Many residents donate time to hospice and other facilities.
The Heritage Springs residents are generous, caring people. Maybe you should meet them personally. You might realize that your comments about them are completely without merit.
Susan Jacobson, Trinity
We stand against the new ballpark
To move into a home knowing you will be abutting a recreation center is far different from having it forced upon you. Plus, it won't be used by children in Trinity but by adult teams.
We feel more than justified in taking a stand against the powers that be. Politics may be a necessary evil, so to speak, but to passively sit back isn't how I want to live my retirement.
Far too many stereotypes are attached to such places as Heritage Springs. Most of our residents are well educated with many of us having advanced degrees in education, many still work, I myself am a consultant. We read the newspaper, support charities and have become active members of our community. We moved from different parts of the country.
Your comments about the potential library parking lot is true but that is what was promised, not a ballpark. And you are correct that most of the residents feel as you described and will willingly admit, "Not in my back yard."
I frequent the New Port Richey Library and will be happy to continue to do so. Let's leave that land to nature, and a passive park would be great. With others clamoring for the Sportsplex to be built in their back yards why fight the residents here? Starkey Ranch and Hudson both would love to have the complex.
I think the St. Petersburg Times is a wonderful newspaper and I am quite sure their editors are top of the line but even the best of us sometimes makes an error in judgment.
Carole Gannon, Trinity
Consider other uses for the land
The Pasco County Commission could have more wisely spent the $60,000 it handed over to Sportsplex USA on a countywide postcard survey asking what the people would like to use for a tourist attraction in Pasco.
It could have included options for, say, my favorite, a music venue or a four-wheel mud pit race course or even a silly softball field or two. Commissioner Jack Mariano is still correct in that the proposed sports complex is too small and now that the residents of Trinity are up-in-arms, Commissioner Ann Hildebrand is having second thoughts with her rush to judgment.
Music works for everyone, and a proper venue could include all the arts that would draw people from faraway places to put heads in beds. I ask the commissioners to stop listening to the Sportsplex lobby and consider other venues.
Dana Goodwin, Hudson
Help stop cuts to clerk, comptroller
During the 2009 legislative session, the state reduced the Pasco County Clerk of Circuit Court and County Comptroller's budget by $2.85 million, 18 percent, resulting in the loss of 85 positions. Despite this drastic cut, the Senate budget approved on March 31, 2010, imposes an additional $23.3 million reduction to clerks statewide, $808,000 to Pasco. This proposed additional cut will result in the layoff of 23 more employees.
The duties of the Clerk of Circuit Court and County Comptroller are prescribed in the state Constitution. There are more than 1,000 duties performed by the clerk's office for the judiciary, the Bar and, most importantly, for the public. An audit KPMG issued in January concluded that, because of the cuts imposed on clerks during last year's legislative session, "the reductions in personnel, overtime limitations, and deferral of salary increases have strained clerk's ability to meet their daily duties."
Reducing clerks' budgets by an additional $23.3 million this year will eliminate our ability to provide many of the vital, often life-saving, services provided every day by the clerk and comptroller's office, including domestic violence protection, child support payments, incapacitated wards needing guardianship, involuntary exams for individuals faced with mental health problems, child custody matters and divorce actions. The public relies on the clerk's office as its gateway to the justice system, and it is imperative that the Florida Senate and the Florida House of Representatives provide adequate funding.
If you feel as I do, that the citizens of Pasco County both need and deserve a full-service clerk and comptroller's office that has the ability to provide these much-needed services, please take a moment to write to legislators and let them know how you feel.
Paula S. O'Neil, Pasco County clerk and comptroller
He was a rockin' teacher | April 3, article
Teddy Bear and Rosebud's bond
What a sad ending for a wonderful man. Coach Ron Spriggs was my daughter's coach at Gulfside Elementary when she was in kindergarten in 1985. A special bond was formed with "Teddy Bear" and "Rosebud." My daughter Maria Rose, grew up always loving her Teddy Bear.
Through the years they kept in touch. When she went into the Navy and came home on leave, she made a point to go see him at River Ridge. He was so very proud of her and told his students so.
When she came home a couple of years ago, she attempted to locate him, and was told he was very ill and to leave him alone. I contacted his friend at the district, but was told she wouldn't want to see him nor him her. I think that would have been incorrect.
I notified her in California, that her beloved Teddy Bear passed. All she could do was cry and said, "I wish I could have been there so he wasn't alone.'' I have run into him over the years, and he was a special man with a heart of gold.
Thank you, Coach Spriggs, for being the man you were, and may you finally have the peace you needed. We will always love and miss you.
Leslie Todd, Holiday