Recs and Reads
By Anne McKay Garris
So, the City of Clearwater has just finished spending $810,000 to expand the Beach Recreation Center building to include our beautiful new library. Included in that expenditure were funds to renovate the Recreation Center to make it even more attractive for parties, weddings and wedding receptions. It also included a brand new, airy and attractive weight room. By the middle of February the renovations should be finished, providing the people of Clearwater a signature facility, worthy of our world class tourist community.
These combined facilities not only serve the visitors to our area, they are used extensively by the people in the island communities of Clearwater whose real estate taxes pay a large percentage of the city's salaries and other expenses.
In the list of proposed cuts presented to the Clearwater City Council recently, this newly expanded and renovated facility is proposed for closing because of the reduction in income expected from the Florida State Legislature this year.
So, why does it make sense that the city spends a large amount on creating a library and improving the recreation center one year, and closing it the next? That's truly inspired "long range planning" for you!
Meantime, Councilmember Carlen Petersen insists that the $77,000 to support Ruth Eckerd Hall remain in the budget. Without it, Ruth Eckerd Hall might have to cut back, but it would not close.
You can help by using your library and recreation center and by informing your City Council members of your priorities. Which, by the way, you can also do by participating in the Gazette's on line poll.
Go on line at www.clearwatergazette.com and access the Pennies for Pinellas poll. Each week we get to vote for another project we want removed from the Penny For Pinellas list. The city needs to eliminate $20 million. Let's help them choose.
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