Snarled in traffic caused by an accident, we were told by a Clearwater police officer that there were no other units available to reroute motorists and ease congestion. The Main Library has closed the downstairs reference desk and reduced the number of library assistants. The recently completed playground and picnic area at Glen Oaks Park consists of one tire swing, a jungle gym and one picnic table. Is there a lack of municipal funds to support these services?
Millions of dollars have been allocated by city officials for a half mile beach walk and 300 parking spaces to replace 500 spaces that will be demolished. Funds are available for the Cleveland Streetscape at an estimated cost of $8.95-million, which exceeds the original estimate of $6.6-million.
The general public has twice voted not to give up the open waterfront view at Coachman Park, but the City of Clearwater is asking voters to approve the Downtown Boat Slips, which will cost approximately $11-million. Officials have stated that the project will be funded by bonds, a possible federal grant and slip rentals, not city taxes.
However, some $60,000 in tax revenue has already been spent for fliers, television advertisement and a promotional video. Using taxpayers' monies to encourage taxpayers to agree to a marina for 129 yacht owners seems to me to be a conflict of interest.
Maybe city planners should rethink their priorities. If millions are available to subsidize grandiose projects, there should be no lack of funds in the city coffers to hire more police units and librarians and to install playground equipment and picnic tables at Glen Oaks.
Instead of building boat slips for a select few, the city could fund the restoration of Coachman Park by removing fences and port-o-lets. Family-friendly concerts and activities could be sponsored, and the waterfront view could be preserved for everyone, which should be priority number one.
Patricia Bates Smith