Re: Redevelopment of Clearwater Beach.
Having spent many vacations in Clearwater Beach over the last 15 years, I consider it a home away from home. The reasons I enjoy spending time there are the relaxed atmosphere, affordable accommodations and numerous restaurants within walking distance of the motels. Additionally, several shopping malls are within a few miles and, of course, it is only a couple of hours from Orlando.
The more I read about the proposed redevelopment of Clearwater Beach, the more I think I will have to find an alternative resort. I agree that many of the motels are beyond economical refurbishment, but there must be an alternative to building soulless high-rise monstrosities. I can only presume the convention market is in the developers' sights.
I would certainly never choose to stay at Sand Key, which is what Clearwater Beach will look like before too long. Last year Brightwater Drive had been flattened and this year I suspect we will be surrounded by new or partially built villas.
Please don't ruin Clearwater Beach. It holds many happy memories for a lot of Brits as well as Americans.
Jenny Lewis, Sutton, United Kingdom
Hotel is a real beach treasure; preserve it
Re: Clearwater Beach redevelopment.
There are many forms of terrorism today, one right here in Clearwater Beach: the developers. They want to destroy a quality of life that is good for people. The developers want to tear down the Clearwater Beach Hotel and build a new hotel with condominiums on top.
This makes no sense at all. Built in 1918, the Clearwater Beach Hotel is the historic flagship hotel for Clearwater Beach, where people come from all over the United States and the world to stay. It is an indigenous community resource. People celebrate their weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and family reunions there.
What would Clearwater Beach be without its historic flagship hotel? It would lose its roots. The hotel should be preserved at all cost for future generations to enjoy.
Where are the civic leaders to prevent this from happening? We do not need a new hotel. We do not need another Miami. Is Clearwater/Clearwater Beach that impoverished, that destitute, that the Community Development Board must change zoning laws to accommodate the developers to expand? This is no revitalization plan. It is the rape of Clearwater Beach.
Let us have a referendum in the November election to see if the people of Clearwater and Clearwater Beach want the hotel torn down.
Mary Kionis, Clearwater
EDITOR'S NOTE: The Hunter family, which owns the Clearwater Beach Hotel, is participating in the project to redevelop the property into a high-end resort hotel and condominiums.
Stanton's leadership on race is lacking
With Largo Fire Department Chief Caroll Williams retiring, City Manager Steve Stanton has a chance to make some real changes in the Fire Department. Instead, he has said he plans to promote one of the assistant chiefs to the position.
How about a national search for an African-American fire chief? Mr. Stanton has always said the city has trouble attracting minorities and people of color. This would be an excellent opportunity to change that perception. Instead, he is just carrying on the culture of the department for years to come.
In all of Steve Stanton's many years of managing the city, the Fire Department has seen little change. It is viewed by many as one of the most segregated fire departments in Pinellas County.
The truth is, Stanton does not want real change. He lacks the ability or the will to make real progress when it comes to race relations. To make matters worse, Largo city commissioners seem befuddled when you talk about race relations. Because they are the ones who ultimately are responsible, they can only blame themselves.
I give Mr. Stanton an "A" for lip service and an "F" for leadership.
Paul Lee, Tierra Verde