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Not all motels on Clearwater Beach expensive

Re: No stay at the beach, story, March 17.

We are owners of a waterfront motel on Clearwater Beach. We have very lovely apartments that are "AAA plus superior-small-lodging" approved. A couple could stay here for a week at between $54 and $75 per night.

Articles like the one written by Deanna Bellandi comparing beach motels and inland motels do a great disservice to Clearwater Beach motels.

Many tourists read this newspaper and now would not even check out accommodations on the beach because they think all rooms are $175 per night.

Linda and Joe Zykus, Pelican Cove, Clearwater Beach

As proud owners of a small motel on Clearwater Beach, we are writing in response to Deanna Bellandi's article comparing inland motels with motels on Clearwater Beach.

We highly resent that your staff writer did not take the time to research this article. As a result, her information is incorrect.

It is very easy to find clean and comfortable accommodations all over Clearwater Beach for prices in the range of $50 to $65 at this time of year.

Many motels also offer weekly rates that bring the cost of a room down further.

Our motel, along with many others, has repeat visitors year after year _ many of whom used to stay in high-priced, larger hotels.

We are proud of the personal service and accommodations we offer at reasonable prices.

We hope that your reporting will be more responsible and accurate in the future.

Harriet and Clyde Hall, owners, Sea Spray Inn,

Clearwater Beach

You can find very nice accommodations on Clearwater Beach _ on the water, on the sand, with sunset views, in the $50- to $65-a-night range. Yes, there are rooms available on Clearwater Beach for $175 per night.

There are rooms available that cost more.

Did you know motels with 50 rooms or fewer (most of them with fewer than 25) make up more than 75 percent of all accommodations on Clearwater Beach?

These smaller moteliers are proud of the personal service they offer to their guests, at fair prices, and have many, many repeat visitors year after year.

We are doing everything possible to bring visitors to Clearwater Beach to help the economy grow and thrive.

Yes, it's a real shame the Times didn't take the time to do the necessary research on what's in its own back yard and has added to the misconception many have that it costs more to stay on Clearwater Beach. This just isn't so when you compare apples to apples.

We on Clearwater Beach are famous for hospitality, gulf waters, white sands, breathtaking sunsets and competitive prices.

So, next time you are looking for a place to stay and want a nice "mom-and-pop" type motel that has all the amenities, or a luxury suite at one of the larger chain hotels, they both can be found where all the things you came to Clearwater for in the first place are. You can't beat Clearwater Beach.

Jo Lynn Jackson, executive director,

Clearwater Beach Chamber of Commerce,

Clearwater

As a small motel owner on Clearwater Beach, I was, to say the least, more than a little upset by the inaccurate statements made (in the story). Reporter Deanna Bellandi stated that tourists were staying in motels on both State Road 60 and U.S. 19 because of the high prices of Clearwater Beach's motels.

I believe she quoted prices of up to $175 per night. Bellandi obviously did not bother to check her information or she would certainly have found that the smaller motels on Clearwater Beach are currently, during season, charging anywhere from $50 to $90 per night, depending on the type of accommodations.

Bellandi was obviously quoting prices of the large motels such as the Holiday Inn, Ramada, etc., which are located directly on the water.

My husband, Bob, and I have owned our motel, the Tropic Air, for 11 years and we have never charged the prices quoted in the story.

This season has been probably the worst we have ever seen.

There are many motels on the beach with vacancies, and articles such as Deanna Bellandi's certainly do nothing to help the small motel owner; in fact, if anything, the article discourages tourists from even thinking about staying on Clearwater Beach or checking our prices.

My husband and I try to upgrade our motel every year. Four years ago we put in a pool, three years ago we replaced our kitchenettes and purchased new furniture; yet we have not raised our prices in four years due to an alarming decrease in business on the beach.

So when we read in your paper how tourists are getting a better deal off the beach, we, along with many other motel owners, are asking ourselves why we even bother. We may as well close our doors.

It would be nice to feel that all businesses in our area are working together to promote tourism for all, not just for a select few. However, based on this article, we have our doubts. Fewer tourists staying on the beach affect not only the motels but all the beach businesses, including the shops and restaurants.

If all the small beach businesses stopped advertising in your paper or had your newspaper machines removed from our properties, would that affect your business? Would it make your newspaper stop and think before it printed an article that may seriously affect our businesses? Perhaps we need to take such action to get a fair shake, or at least your attention.

Karen Odell, owner, Tropic Air Motel, Clearwater Beach

Pedestrian program should be promoted

There has been a recent initiative by the city of Clearwater to provide a safer environment for pedestrians within the city. This initiative is taking the form of both an educational program and a followup enforcement program.

The Pinellas County Pedestrian Transportation Advisory Committee has reviewed this program in some depth and believes that the city should be commended for its efforts and encouraged to continue. PTAC is very much aware of the need for a better-informed public in order to have a safe environment for pedestrians. Not only do motorists need to practice safe driving but pedestrians also need to practice safer methods of crossing the street and analyzing the movement of traffic. The committee recognizes that, initially, there was some negative publicity regarding the enforcement of jaywalking violations; however, the committee realizes that this is a broad program with many benefits. For these reasons, Clearwater's initiative to educate the public as to the dos and don'ts of pedestrian safety is a highly commendable initiative.

With these thoughts in mind, PTAC voted to strongly support the city of Clearwater in its program as a model for other cities to follow.

Artie Bayandrian, chairman,

Pinellas County Pedestrian

Transportation Advisory Committee,

Metropolitan Planning Organization,

Clearwater

Departure of Blue Jays will leave void

Re: Jays departure best for Dunedin, letter, March 13.

The letter proves just how much the author knows about baseball, particularly that played by the minor league teams from April through August and sometimes into September. Dunedin has such a team, Class A Blue Jays. We have gotten season tickets for this wonderful pastime for several years and find it to be the best bargain (the tickets, that is) for our entertainment dollar.

We have witnessed the maturing of quite a number of young men into really super baseball players. The city of Dunedin's coffers are enriched as well by the receipts from the sale of food and drink and the sale of souvenirs in the novelty shop there. Families can afford to take the entire clan to see some of the most enjoyable baseball that can be found anywhere.

As members of the Booster Club, my husband and I have helped our club by working at the concession stands. Being unable to stand for any length of time, I have sat in my chair at the front gate, renting cushions for the spring training games, and have met some very nice, interesting people from Canada and New England. I have made many friends at Grant Field, people I never would have met had it not been for the summer games there.

We have also met many of the young players, who have been the nicest, most polite young men one would ever hope to meet. And even though we are "senior citizens," those players treat us as if we were one of them.

'Tis indeed a sad thing to know that our Jays will be flying south to Sarasota. We shall miss them immensely.

Doris B. White, Safety Harbor

Dunedin will rebound from loss of Jays

A year ago, I wrote an article about the possibility of our beloved Blue Jays leaving Dunedin. It must have rung a bell in the ivory towers of Toronto, as I was invited by Ken Carson (director of the team's Florida operations) to a private powwow.

He stated that the team had no intention of ever leaving this town. Apparently that was a coverup, as they had already set in motion this underhanded move they are now making.

What galls me more than any other feature of all this sordid affair is the claim that the team needs a new centralized complex so that it can have better success. I do not see how they can possibly have better success than they have had here in this ever-improving town of Dunedin.

What they do not understand is that baseball is a sport loaded with intangibles. Teams do not win pennants and World Series with just the ballplayers on the field. You will not be successful unless you have that intangible ingredient that is found way deep down in your soul. The Yankees showed that last season when they had a man at the helm, Joe Torre, who treated each and every one of his ballplayers as people, and they came to love him and would go the limit in their athletic abilities.

The Blue Jays have always felt that love coming from the stands by people who have sunk millions of dollars into homes and condominiums to be near this team for a few weeks in winter. That is the feeling that they left here each year after spring training. It's not something you acquire just by having better quarters.

What is going on now is just the morose dealings of the idle rich. They have grown tired of our town as they have sucked all the goodness out of it, and though they have left us high and dry we shall survive, and I believe be in better shape than we have ever been.

A. J. Voiland, Dunedin

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