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Mother has concerns about new Halloween event

This is a copy of a letter sent to Largo Mayor Thom Feaster.

I am a mother of two girls, ages 9 and 4, and live in Largo. The safety and well-being of my children is extremely important. I continually look for activities outside of home and school that are safe, fun and preferably community-oriented.

Halloween is the most exciting holiday, next to Christmas, for children. But Halloween is one of those events that can be troublesome and unsafe for children.

Up until this year, it has been a blessing to know that the city of Largo has cared for children's well-being by providing a safe and fun event in a secure atmosphere. I am concerned and disappointed to learn that Halloween Happenings in Ulmer Park has been canceled and replaced with another Halloween event.

I do not feel this new event was thought out well.

Halloween Happenings in Ulmer Park was safe. The area around City Hall was well-lit and easily controlled. Police provided security and didn't allow trouble inside.

As parents, we knew that the candy provided by the city was not tainted. There were activities for all ages. It was perfect for the lower-income neighborhoods surrounding City Hall. They could walk to the park and expect to come to a basically free event.

Here are my concerns about the new event to be on the Largo Renaissance Festival grounds:

Safety. Have you been back there at night? It is dark, dirty and unpaved.

The event is not for all ages and provides an eerie atmosphere.

The parking lot entrance to the grounds is on one of the busiest and heavily traveled streets with low lighting.

I spoke with the Largo Recreation Department supervisor and she said: "City recreation employees will provide security." When I asked her about police on the premises, she said that there would not be any and not to worry because people would be escorted on their storytelling tours in groups of 20. Does she think everyone else will stand outside in an orderly fashion waiting their turn? I think not!

There will be a $4 charge per person to go on this storytelling tour. What about the families that can't afford it?

The recreation supervisor also asked me if I was aware that there were other city-sponsored Halloween events geared toward preschoolers. So we as a family would have to split up and find age-appropriate events for our children, which defeats the whole purpose of spending family time together.

Our family can afford this new event, but we will not attend for the reasons I have explained. I can assure you that several other families feel the same. It is not the issue of money, it's the principle.

If the city was losing money from Halloween Happenings, I can only imagine what they will be losing by canceling it. It is called trust from the community and a sense of belonging and pride that our city can donate a fun time and free candy to its residents without worrying about lost money.

Cathy J. Field

Clearwater

Community should join beach effort

The Oct. 18 meeting at the Sheraton Sand Key Hotel was sponsored by the Sand Key Civic Association to announce the approval of beach renourishment and date of commencement.

The association admitted that initially it had an outpouring of protest against public parking and access. But eventually, through a lot of hard work, members united and succeeded in getting approval. Although some residents voiced their impatience about the construction date _ September 1996 _ at least Sand Key residents can look forward to a realization of their efforts.

One guest speaker commented that 85 miles of beach already have been restored in Florida. Belleair Beach is only eight-tenths of a mile long _ a small grain of sand in the large scheme _ yet this small community remains an incohesive group that refuses to sacrifice an inch of space to public access and parking.

When asked how the government could help us with this problem, state environmental official Lonnie Ryder answered, "Grassroots support starts with the people. We cannot help those who will not help themselves."

The government already has approved the area from Sand Key to the northern end of Belleair Beach. Can we not heal our differences and join together so that all of Belleair Beach may be included in the September 1996 commencement of beach renourishment?

Selma Kron

Belleair Beach

Rail stop is needed in Clearwater

Re: "Thomas: Clearwater should be rail stop."

This sounds like a terrific idea! I hope the entire Clearwater City Commission will think about this more deeply. Clearwater needs a break like this. Just think of the money wasted in other areas, over and over. Just being able to reach the east coast without the hassle of Tampa and the auto trips through Alligator Alley and such would be an incentive.

I agree with City Commissioner Fred Thomas. Tourists would prefer seeing our beautiful beaches, which are well known all over the country.

Patricia M. Daggett

Clearwater

Area was cheated in road plans

In 1937, the Carr family from Erie, Pa., came to visit my aunt and uncle, May and Frank Delamater in Clearwater. At this time, Greenwood Street was the edge of town.

Aunt May took us to all the tourist traps: Webb Drug Store in St. Petersburg, the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs and Bok Tower.

In North Pinellas, there are no more roads east than there were in 1937 and no four-lane roads. I feel that we have been short-changed in the planning process.

Helene Joy Bard

Clearwater

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