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SCC would bring jobs to Clearwater

Re: Clearwater must stick with waterfront vision, editorial, Jan. 28.

In my two years as a Clearwater city commissioner, I have not felt compelled to respond to any of your editorials, but the opinion expressed Wednesday relating to the bluff project concerns me deeply.

SCC is a well-established company, currently headquartered in Pinellas County. Because of their growth and success in the very competitive medical software business, they have a need for a new, larger corporate headquarters. They are interested in the Calvary Baptist Church property and potentially Clearwater City Hall as a corporate headquarters, residential and possibly retail mixed-use project.

This is a company that has thrived in the medical technology industry in good times and bad. SCC has the desire to relocate 500 high-paying jobs to Clearwater with the expectation of continued growth. While campaigning, I promised to try to bring good jobs to Clearwater and to work toward developing a community where our children can return after college and earn a decent wage. SCC is a step toward that goal. The City Commission's vision for Clearwater is not merely to create a community where people live and play, but to create a community where people can live, work and play.

The Calvary Baptist property is on the market; eventually, it will be sold and redeveloped. The new owners can develop the property as they see fit, within certain guidelines. Don't we, as a city, want to be a part of the process so that we get a project that benefits our citizens while enhancing our entire bluff? I believe that a true mixed-use project in which there are restaurants and retail space on ground-level floors for all to enjoy and with offices and condos above would be a project that would create an environment where people truly can live, work and play.

We also need to be cognizant of how much new retail and restaurants our downtown can absorb. One of our central goals is to draw more residential units to downtown, which will in turn justify national chains in locating to Clearwater. Downtown Clearwater will only turn the corner when we diversify our population and have a balance between residential, commercial and institutional uses.

Finally, I believe your editorial was premature in its judgment. Currently, there are no plans to present to anyone _ the citizens, commission or newspaper. This project isn't half-baked, it is not even ready for the oven. The citizens of Clearwater will be the final judges because our charter requires any plan incorporating City Hall to go to referendum.

Since the last referendum, little has happened in downtown Clearwater. Clearwater now has the unique opportunity to attract these high-paying, high-quality jobs to its redeveloping downtown core. Before passing judgment, let's allow the design and public hearing process to unfold, as it should.

Frank Hibbard

Clearwater city commissioner

Musical performances a local secret worth divulging

We have discovered what must be a very well-kept secret in Clearwater and we want to share it. On Saturday afternoon, we attended a live performance of the Inkspots (retro to the early 1950s and even earlier) in the Clearwater High School auditorium for the low price of $10 per person, in advance. This auditorium was not full, but those attending thoroughly enjoyed this great performance.

There will be more such performances. The next one will feature the Crew Cuts Feb. 12 at 3:30 p.m. in the CHS auditorium. These performances are sponsored by the Clearwater Parks and Recreation Department. I believe the Drama Club of Clearwater High School, which supplied ushers, also benefits from these shows.

We look forward to more of these concerts and hope that others will find out about this "secret."

Elizabeth and John France, Clearwater

Patriotism would rise if a third major war broke out

Re: Declare Veterans Day a school holiday, letter, Jan. 27.

As to my VFW comrade's letter in the Tuesday Times, one conclusion that might be drawn is that, bottom line, too many of us these days couldn't care less about such events. But, God forbid, if we were to become involved in a third major war, it would come as no big surprise to me that then most of the populace would turn out rallying 'round the flag!

Joseph P. Corell, Safety Harbor

Your voice counts

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