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Parade's order is carefully planned

Re: U.S. flag, color guard should lead parades, letter, Dec. 28.

I would like to respond to 12-year-old Aaron Granby's concern regarding the color guard in the Tarpon Springs Christmas Parade.

Tarpon Springs is very much for America and our countrymen and women serving. As coordinator of our city's parade, we work with our city government in concern for the safety of our entire community.

The reason that we have the Tarpon Springs Police Department first in the parade is to pave the way safely. As another safety measure, we have our Fire Department next so that in the case of an emergency they are at the front of the parade and can exit without safety issues.

As for the color guard, we feel that it is very important to have the national ensign lead us. That is why it is normally placed third after we have covered the potential safety issues. Last year our color guard did not show up on the day of the parade to lead the procession. This year as we planned the lineup we realized that we had no color guard.

We usually have several groups willing to do the honors. However, realizing that several of our reserve units who normally are available to be the color guard are deployed on active duty, the parade chairman made several phone calls to other agencies to find a color guard, without success. With a continued effort to be sure that our parade did not proceed without a color guard, we were able to procure flags and the Boy Scout troop took the honor of being our color guard. The troop was already scheduled to be in that space at the lineup, and on such short notice we did not want to confuse the troops on parade day by trying to move them as the parade started.

Tarpon Springs is a very proud American community that will not stop until we find a resolution to any problem, even if it means having the colors carried by our next generation of proud Americans in the middle of the pack.

Tj Davis, president, Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce

Wasting tax money on

projects is nothing new

Re: Anclote project wastes tax money better sent elsewhere, letter, Dec. 27.

In regards to Jim Harpham's letter, many projects waste taxpayers' money. For instance, why do we need the Pinellas Trail? I do not use it. Skateboard parks? I do not skateboard. Special parks for dogs? I do not own a dog. Egmont Key? Why should we try to save it from erosion? How about Wall Springs or Fort DeSoto parks? Why save them? Bulldoze the areas and build condos. The tax base would boost the county coffers.

I think there is a lot of tax money wasted, but it happens and it always will. I just started paying $5 to launch my boat at Pinellas County boat ramps, and that $5 goes into the Pinellas County general park fund and not the boat ramps themselves. Why don't they charge Pinellas County park users $5 to enter the parks? General park users do more wear and tear on the park facilities than boaters do at the ramps.

Anclote Key is a beautiful state park surrounded by federal waters, and some of us would like to keep it that way. Stationing a ranger on the island will help. Just because Jim Harpham does not have a boat does not mean we should not save a part of American history.

Dudley Scott, BelleairClearwater finally catching up

with other cities in Florida

Have you driven through downtown Clearwater lately? This area is experiencing an exciting transformation of new residential construction. This "old town" is finally catching up with other grand cities in Florida that have flourished as a result of redevelopment.

In the past decade cities such as Fort Lauderdale, St. Petersburg and West Palm Beach have all experienced downtown urbanization. Along with the residences come retail, restaurants, offices and more. The new businesses not only benefit the city population but also benefit the whole community.

In downtown Clearwater several developers have already seized the opportunity to buy up empty buildings and vacant lots. There are still a number of properties on the market ripe for change, too. The current developments will add approximately 500 new residences in the area. These residences will be condominiums, lofts and townhomes.

Sales and reservations from the developments have been strong. Preconstruction prices range from $200,000 to $900,000 for nonwaterfront. The waterfront complexes range even higher in price.

Clearwater is certain to become cosmopolitan.

Joanne Wood, Clearwater

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