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Reader's Forum
Awaken the sleeping Biltmore beauty
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Editor:
My husband and I are seasonal residents from Chicago, who own a condo for the past eight years in Bayshore II, on the hotel property. Even though the new signage gives solo billing to the Belleair Country Club, it was the hotel that bequeathed the club, and gave the town its notoriety, and I will always consider it as such.

When deciding on a place to buy here, we searched up and down Pinellas County from Dunedin to Tierra Verde. We fell in love with our Belleair condo because of its small town feel. It was a lovely gated and gracefully mixed residential hidden gem.

It was such a pleasant contrast to most other properties we viewed, which were “cookie cutter condo clusters.” And then there was this grand hotel, center stage to this Rockwell setting. Despite showing her age, and sporting a funky Godzilla entrance, she oozed history and grander times

We were so excited in ’09 at its closing, that this Sleeping Beauty would awaken in ’12, to her restored glory. But people being people, could not let preservation architects proceed. Lingering law suits delaying the process, until the economy tanked.

We now have another chance with a proven preservation architect in the wings that is so close to raising the capital needed to give Belleair a world-class resort again. It can be saved, despite the Ades brothers’ atrocities.

The town graciously and heroically bought the Belleview Biltmore Golf Club, in order to preserve the surrounding residents’ green space and subsequently protect their property values.

What about the rest of your constituents? The hotel property residents who are trading a prestigious resort to Cheezem’s cheezy, cookie-cutter condo clusters.

WE are the victims here, as we were at Tuesday night’s Town Hall meeting.

This was the first meeting I was able to attend, and have been a preservation advocate remotely from Chicago. I was appalled at what I witnessed.

The obnoxious, rude and arrogant behavior of the Country Club members that were en masse – heckling and sneering condescendingly as well as commissioners telling preservationists, to “go sit down.” They all politely respected, and listened to Belleair Country Club’s presentations. Which only goes to show you that money can’t buy class.

Really? We all taught our kids not to bully, but here in our tonie little town, well-dressed adult bullies were in abundance.

I applaud Commissioner Fowler for his vote against selling off the hotel, one acre at a time.

I encourage the rest to consider the impact of their decisions on ALL their constituents, not just a select few.

Bring Belleair back to being synonymous with “home to the Belleview Biltmore.”

Please give a potential Prince Charming, a six-month chance to awaken this sleeping beauty you are entrusted to.

The Vinoy slept for 18 years and now is St. Petersburg’s MVP.

Deborah Repsold
Belleair
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Tampa Bay Newspapers
9911 Seminole Blvd.,
Seminole, FL 33772
Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
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