A signature moment and waiting to exhale June 29 editorial and column
Time to speak out is early
Both the editorial board and Sandra Gadsden simplified all arguments for and against the Pier and, by extension, BayWalk and a new stadium for the Rays. Whatever is done, someone will be unhappy and squeal that there was not enough opportunity for citizen input.
The time for citizen input is before the final plans are close to fruition. Pay attention, people, and speak out early in the process. It is inconvenient to ferret out information and sit through City Council meetings or read report of what was discussed at public meetings. It is far easier to ignore the early work and then chime in.
Why should any elected official pay attention to anyone who does not get involved when his opinions would actually make a difference? It's like not exercising your right to vote and then complaining about the results of the election.
Willi Rudowsky, St. Petersburg
A signature moment for St. Petersburg
What about droppings?
No, that's not a criticism of the Times' endorsement of the "Lens." It's a cautionary tale from the baseball park in San Francisco Bay.
I'm keen on supporting the Lens, having witnessed its presentation at the Coliseum. The iconic image in last Sunday's Times merely triggered an unhappy association between that pristine, expansive and spotless "sail" and the guiltless seagulls' fly-by. Please tell us more about how the odious avian excrement threat will be mitigated to ensure St. Pete's "Signature" is impeccable.
Gary Harrington, St. Petersburg
Space Needle is different
You have mentioned several icons, including the Space Needle in Seattle. I lived in Seattle for 15 years and it is indeed the iconic symbol of the city. But it was privately financed for the World's Fair. It is still privately owned. I believe there is a lease with the city for the property it is built on. The man who designed it was the father of a friend of mine. Yep, it was on a cocktail napkin conceptually. How fun is that?
It has a great restaurant and gift shop, wonderful large meeting rooms, and a scary elevator to the top observation deck. So it has a lot of usage, even fireworks off the top. Do the locals go? Never! Do the tourists go? First stop! It is packed. The locals do the local stuff: theater, markets, sports, etc.
Mary Lee Hanley, St. Petersburg
BayWalk may get foodie favorites | July 27
Grand hotel makes sense
While it is great to have a dynamic group led by Bill Edwards restyle BayWalk, the direction doesn't really seem much different than the failed attempts of the past. I just don't know where all the people and customers are in downtown St. Pete once the snowbirds leave for the summer and fall and the colleges take their summer breaks.
Beach Drive is mainly busy on weekend nights now, the hot cafes sparse during the day. The party district centered at Central Avenue and Third Street is also a lot less crowded. Just look at the dark apartments in most of the high-rises during this season. St. Pete is still a small city trying to hit the big leagues.
We are still an amazingly beautiful destination, though, and to me converting BayWalk into a great destination hotel could have more success. Installing a world-class pool and spa in the huge courtyard would be really great along with converting the excess capacity of movie theaters at Muvico. That structure could be part of a grand boutique hotel, too. Mainstream movies would probably excel at Tyrone Square Mall, an increasingly upbeat place with the opening of H&M department store. Besides, we need an art house cinema downtown.
The efforts to attract upscale patrons to a plaza next to a megaplex cinema strike me as contradictory. Last I checked, the upscale demographic has installed home theaters and has video on demand at their fingertips.
Jeannie Cline, St. Petersburg
Closures, detours not just for Tampa | July 24
Light rail sure would be nice
I believe that the convention is a good thing for both cities by bringing the eyes of the world to Tampa and St. Pete. Nothing screams louder about the need for a light-rail system than the people who will be working during the RNC visit.
I live in St. Pete and work in Brandon. I'm not sure exactly how I will get to work with the Lee Roy Selmon closed for four days. I may have to reroute over the Skyway and back up Interstate 75. What is now a 30-mile, 45-minute drive will become a 60-mile drive one way and will probably take double the time. But it will sure beat trying to do I-275 to I-4 to I-75. With the Platt Street bridge and expressway closed, you're adding 80,000 cars to all the other east-west corridors. Now add all the buses and closures of I-275 at various times and that route would probably be a three-hour run each way.
As it is, I fill up twice a week. That week may be four times at $60 per tank. Add my additional time, and it's going to be costly. I hope and pray that it's a good and smooth event and that we are rewarded for all of this.
AJ Broome, St. Petersburg