The redevelopment of downtown Clearwater will pour $300-million into Clearwater, but the people at Save the Bayfront don't want that. I don't get it.
We desperately need to do something to jump-start a dying downtown. We've got a reputable developer all ready to go and a group of naysayers says, "The people don't want it." Well, they haven't talked to me or the people I'm talking to.
We live in the most beautiful area of the entire country and have a totally dumpy downtown with a parking lot that looks over the water. The plans I've seen will make the waterfront on the harbor the most beautiful green park I've ever seen. Are they asking for our money? No, we do not even have to pay for it. All we have to do is say yes that they can go ahead.
I know the good people of Clearwater will wake up and grab hold of this and not let go until we get this done.
Jesse Horne, Clearwater
Clearwater officials should
consider safety of projects
Watching the terrible fire in Ybor City on Friday, I was reminded of all the equipment and effort it takes to get a fire under control and how quickly a small fire can turn into a monster. I then thought of the Clearwater Beach area north of the roundabout and I became concerned.
I don't believe there is any way to get a hook and ladder truck or any really heavy equipment to the north end of the beach in a timely fashion. Also, with the designs for downtown and the bayside construction, has anyone considered the fire hazard and safety factors? With all the extra traffic that an upscale downtown would bring, it could be a disaster waiting to happen. There's already a slow go through downtown Clearwater.
I hope that these city planners take into consideration the many downsides of expansion and don't get caught with glitter in their eyes. I love this town and I would hate to see it fall victim to poor planning. I'm sure I'm not the only one that questions some of the beautification efforts our commissioners seem to think are so needed in our already beautiful town.
Michael Dan Ehmig, Clearwater
Downtown redevelopment plan
an alternative to Scientology
One of the many privileges enjoyed in this country is that any group, religious or secular, has a right to assemble and exist freely without interference, as long as it operates within the law. While there may be some who wish that the Church of Scientology had not selected Clearwater for its spiritual headquarters, the fact remains it has a clear right to be here.
And by all indications, there will be a growing presence of Scientology in our community for the foreseeable future. Many believe Scientology is filling a developmentvoid and is taking advantage of the many opportunities it has found in Clearwater. The abundance of its projects clearly indicates it will be a dominant player in downtown development.
For those looking for a more balanced approach to development, one that is not oriented toward a particular religion, I suggest you give serious consideration to the redesign proposal recommended for downtown Clearwater as set forth by the George de Guardiola group.
William Kiser, Clearwater
Having two bridges available
as link to beach makes sense
I picked up the "Blueprint for Clearwater's Future," a booklet dated Feb. 11, 1998, from the second floor of the downtown public library. The booklet's plan for downtown looks a lot more workable for the traffic going to and from the beach. The idea of having a new bridge and keeping the old bridge functioning seems like a wonderful plan. It would keep more traffic moving during spring break and help in times of evacuation. Closing streets that might be needed in cases of emergencies doesn't seem like the best plan.
Allyson Janos, Clearwater
If downtown plan is worthwhile
it will earn approval of voters
Why do I feel that I've joined Alice in Wonderland? It seems to me the Clearwater city charter gives the voters a great degree of control of publicly owned lands specifically to protect them from indiscretions by the City Commission. However, the commission is asking us to waive that right and obligation.
"Trust, us," we are told, "we will make a good deal with the developers." But are they trustworthy? Is this not the commission that had a back-door plan to do the very opposite of what the voters wanted in a recent referendum concerning leasing city property to a golf course?
This is the commission that went ahead with the fiasco fountain contrary to early evidence of its failings. This is the commission that swept the fire department's needs under the rug while it wasted millions on the roundabout.
The traffic circle was poorly planned and pushed too rapidly, bypassing the voters. The downtown project is likewise being pushed too rapidly and its promoters are trying to bypass the voters. If the plan is desirable, it will be equally desirable a year from now when the citizens could have an opportunity to know what they are to vote on.
Seymour S. Bluestone, Clearwater
Clearwater redevelopment plan
will benefit private interests
Most of Clearwater's elected city officials must think they're immortal and that the people who live here have no brains. Granting carpetbaggers redevelopment leases is a giveaway of city assets for the next 99 years. Obviously, the city hall bunch is counting on having that vote take place in July when most of Clearwater's registered voters will be away on vacation.
To vote for this redevelopment scheme that obviously benefits private interests more than it will benefit the people would be like rewarding our integrity-deprived city officials for their incompetence and stupidity.
Robert Tralins, Clearwater
Keep on building and no one
will want to live in Clearwater
We barely have enough water to service the existing population of Clearwater, but that's okay. Just keep building condos, hotels and whatever to bring thousands and thousands of people to our area and then tell them to put bricks in their toilet tanks and not to run their garbage disposals or water their lawns.
Soon no one will want to live here, and Clearwater will be a beautiful, empty city. On the plus side, there won't be any more accidents in the roundabout. Way to go, guys!
Louise S. Smith, Clearwater
Why can't Harborview Center,
multiscreen theater coexist?
It seems like one of the biggest stumbling blocks to the proposed downtown redevelopment plan is the controversial decision of replacing Harborview Center with a multiscreen movie theater. I don't understand why this has to be an either/or option.
Why not keep the Harborview Center and put the multiscreen movie theater at the site on the downtown development plan (Phase 2) marked for more apartments and shops? There will be other apartments and shops on the redevelopment plan, but there's only one Harborview Center.
Harborview could then remain the unique site that it is, and its possibilities even enhanced by the addition of a hotel next door. Also, you wouldn't be fighting the sentiment of the people that it seems like a tremendous waste of money to tear it down, after all the tax money that was put into it.
That would be a hard-to-beat combination: Draw in more tourists for small to medium conventions, have dinner at a downtown restaurant and afterward shop, browse through the library or proposed book store, take a stroll through the gardens, head over for sunset on the beach, take in a movie or perhaps take in a concert. I don't see any proposals for a children's playground, but I think that would be a wonderful draw, like Largo's Central Park.
Cindy Scholet, Clearwater
Don't let Harborview mistake
keep city from moving ahead
Re: Harborview might be thorn in Clearwater plan, story, May 14.
No way can Harborview Center be called a convention center. It's a meeting space. And how much economic impact has it had for Clearwater? Zero.
The story quotes a gentleman who says 3,000 people come to his meetings there and only 60 or 70 stay overnight. It's really too bad that the city spent all that money, and it is pretty clear from the article who we can blame that on: a past commissioner. But we can't let that past mistake keep us from a great new future.
The beauty of the new plan is not just about a theater for downtown, but a whole area where people can live with residential space, the new library and wonderful places to walk on our beautiful Florida evenings. I'm really excited about the new library. The problem with the whole Harborview Center was it was too small an idea. This is not just about one building; it is about making our downtown a place where we can all live, work and play.
Bethany Trouville, Clearwater
Developer's plan eliminates
Harborview Center "fiasco'
Re: Harborview might be thorn in Clearwater plan, story, May 14.
The Harborview Center was a fiasco from the get-go. Where is Fred Thomas now? Part of the group that doesn't want our city to move forward.
Gosh, I feel sorry for the director of the Harborview Center who has to defend it because that is his job. You can see a lot of the space they use is just given away, and that's the last thing our city taxes need. I also feel sorry for the brides who will have to find a better place for their weddings. If the developer could get some of those new places built that they are talking about, they would have a lot better places to have their receptions.
Dave Booth, Clearwater