CLEARWATER – The Clearwater City Council unanimously voted Feb. 6 to renew the Clearwater Community Sailing Association’s management agreement regarding the Clearwater Sailing Center for five years at a total rent of $78,000 plus an annual rent increase tied to the Consumer Price Index.
Bill Morris, the city’s marine and aviation director, couldn’t have been more effusive in his praise of the CCSA.
“With all the good work they have done out there and the fact that they have saved the city a million dollars over 11 years we’ve had the CCSA managing the Sailing Center, and I would really like to keep them there for another five years,” Morris told the council at its Feb. 3 work session.
The Sailing Center is located at 1001 Gulf Blvd.
Morris said that when members of the US Sailing Association visited the CCSA on another matter, they were so impressed that they recommended it as the host site for the 2016 49er Worlds, a qualifying race to determine who will represent the United States in the sailing events at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The organization subsequently approved their recommendation.
“The current board and staff of the CCSA have worked hard to upgrade the appearance and operation of the facility, and have earned the city the recognition (as a world-class sailing venue,)” a Feb. 3 staff memo to the council states. “CCSA would like the opportunity to be the Sailing Center Operating Manager for the signature sailing event, with worldwide media coverage.”
On another visit to the Clearwater Sailing Center to observe a “Pirate Competition,” USSA officials were so impressed by CCSA’s Physically Challenged Sailing Programs that they offered CCSA an opportunity to become a U.S. Sailing Central Paralympics training facility for disabled veterans and others with limited mobility, from Jan. 1, 2014 through Dec. 31, 2017.
The terms of the training center agreement would require CCSA to come up with $146,000 to buy and maintain the three classes of boats the program uses. CCSA officials are currently preparing requests for a grant and donations that they hope will be sufficient to raise the required amount. And if anybody can do it, Morris believes, they can.
“They’ve got a solid team, a solid staff and a cohesive board out there,” Morris said. “They’re just gung ho.”
“They have a terrific program out there,” Councilmember Bill Jonson agreed as he joined his colleagues in voting to approve the agreement. ”I’m so impressed every time I go out there.”