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Opinion
Palm Coast Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012 8 years ago

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 1.12.2011

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+ City mishandled tennis center and has unrealistic expectations
Dear Editor:
The situation at the Palm Coast Tennis Center has degenerated to a new low.

Over a year ago, against the cries of most people in the tennis community, our city manager turned over management of the center to Kemper Sports, a company that manages the city’s golf course and has no experience with tennis. His objective was to erase the $100,000 cost to the city of running the facility.

To do this he would pay Kemper something over $25,000 to manage the facility. Our city manager also tried to paint the center as an enterprise operation, something that it never was and likely never will be.

It was pointed out to him that no municipal tennis facility in our area breaks even; everyone knew that before the facility was built.

Well, after over a year of operation, it appears Kemper has finally found out it will not generate enough income to match expenses.

Now, Kemper brings in a new general manager and loses both tennis pros. Then, stir in a bit of nepotism by the general manager hiring his wife as director of tennis operations and putting her in charge of the professional Futures tournament next month. You now have the perfect poison to destroy a budding and promising business boost for our city. Terrible timing!

Surely, the City Council will find it necessary to step in and not let all that has been accomplished at the tennis center in the last three years go down the drain.

Skipper Hanzel
Palm Coast

+ Why waste more money with sidewalk at Roberts Road?
Dear Editor:
I am always amazed at the money government wastes.

Now they want to spend $68,000 on a sidewalk up Roberts Road, from State Road 100 to Sea Ray’s driveway, for bike riders who come off the nature trail on Colbert.

But they already have a sidewalk that ends right after the Publix driveway. They could continue that sidewalk 40 yards to join up with the one on Colbert and not have to waste the $68,000.

Scott Lamont
Palm Coast

+ Long Landing helps preserve historical site in Palm Coast
Dear Editor:
Long Landing is a cultural, environmental and educational asset to the community of Palm Coast today and has the potential to be more so in the future. It is a great addition to our outstanding parks and one of the many reasons I consider myself lucky to have spent the last 26 of my 30 years here in Palm Coast/Flagler County.

In the 1880s, Joseph Martin Hernandez established a commercial wharf on the Long Landing property and is under consideration to become an addition to the National Register of Historic Places.

In the 1970s, ITT carved its first neighborhood out of the swampy area between Long Creek and Mulberry Branch and, with the still existing Hulett and Pringle swamps to the west, Palm Coast was born. The city of Palm Coast presently owns Mulberry Branch, and with the additional purchase of Long Landing, it provides connectivity between the branch and Long Creek.

This is a superb water recharge area in the highly developed C-section, providing places for water runoff to percolate back into the ground, as opposed to collecting pollution and running off into the canals and Intracoastal Waterway. In its undeveloped state, it also provides habitat and a wildlife corridor.

As chair of the city of Palm Coast’s Beautification & Environmental Advisory Board, I love hearing about the programs the city offers to the schools. I remember when the first group of fifth-grade Indian Trails students visited Long Landing and participated in an air potato roundup in 2008. The students had a great time, and it was a wonderful teaching tool.

In 2009, 240 first-graders from Wadsworth Elementary participated in the first eco station rotations at Long Landing. The city’s CHIRP program was created because of the positive feedback from these educational field trips. In 2010 and 2011, 291 students have participated in educational programs at Long Landing, ranging from fighting invasive plants and planting native trees, to participating in water sampling studies.

The purchase of Long Landing will help preserve our historic past, provide environmental resources for today, and help educate and instill environmental stewardship in the leaders of tomorrow.

Celena Chalkley
Chairwoman, Palm Coast Beautification and Environmental Advisory Board

+ Government construction projects are too secretive
Dear Editor:
Why are our county and city construction sites military secrets? Our county and city building departments could post a weekly listing in our newspapers with the new, pending, and signed contracts as well as clients’ and contractors’ names, addresses and contact numbers.

I have tried researching the websites for the above information to no avail.

I would like to see construction sites, prior to site clearing, have a minimum 4-by-4-foot sign listing the general and subcontractors with names, addresses and telephone numbers. County and city residents with members of their families who are unemployed construction workers would be able to apply for a job.

I would like to quote what City Manager Jim Landon wrote in our local newspapers a while back: “For people interested in building their home in Palm Coast, contact the Home Builders Association for a contractor.” There are many qualified general and subcontractors in the Palm Coast Yellow Pages who do not belong to any association.

I have not read or heard any response from the HBA regarding the construction of commercial, medical, industrial and other projects awarded to out-of-county general and subcontractors. Has the HBA had any meetings with our county and city officials regarding out-of-county contractors employing local contractors and tradesmen/women?

Are the HBA members home builders only? If not, would they be breaking any law or ordinance, if they and the local contractors publicly protested the project sites that do not employ local contractors and tradesmen/women?

Walter Albano
Palm Coast

+ Let’s review the state rules: Walk with traffic; bike against
Dear Editor:
In light of the recent accidents in Flagler County involving pedestrians and bicyclists, perhaps the U.S. Department of Transportation Rules of the Road should be reviewed.

Pedestrians walking on a street without a sidewalk should walk facing traffic, giving the pedestrian and the motorist an opportunity to see each other. Bicyclists, on the other hand, should travel with the flow of traffic.

Being alert to conditions, wearing light-colored clothing and following these rules should make both activities safer for all.

Mary Ann Clark
Flagler Beach

DO RED LIGHT CAMERAS MAKE US SAFER?
+ Punishment does not fit the crime with red-light cameras
Dear Editor:
The City Council has before it the renewal of the red-light camera contract. I want to voice my opposition to this program on practical grounds — the potential for huge losses in lawsuits. Reportedly, Hallandale Beach has agreed to a $375,000 settlement with a law company that is also suing Palm Coast (Attorney Jason Weisser).

Mayor Netts says that he believes the cameras improve driver behavior. Is there any evidence of that? Does the City Council have any statistics to show that the red-light cameras have reduced accidents? Or is this whole red-light camera program just another way for the city to generate a revenue stream to help fund the costly projects of which this City Council seems so fond?

The amount of the fine seems inordinately high, also: $158, doubling to $254 in 60 days? The penalty does not seem to fit the crime, especially in this bad economy.

I personally have seen modification of driver behavior where a scared driver slammed on her brakes when a light turned yellow, almost causing a rear-end slammer.

(Just to be clear, neither I nor any of my family have been fined under this system.)

Femi Smith
Palm Coast

 

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