CLEARWATER – The city of Clearwater is wasting no time as leaders move forward with the implementation of the recently adopted downtown waterfront master plan that will dramatically redevelop an area of the city identified as a vastly underutilized asset.
City leaders formerly adopted the plan during a regular meeting of the Clearwater City Council March 14 at city hall.
The 10-year, $55 million revitalization plan that includes a variety of strategies that would help develop the waterfront to its full potential.
The first is the creation of a dynamic public waterfront open space that would include a unique destination, a variety of active and passive spaces and year-round community programming.
Fostering an active frame around Coachman Park to attract park users that would include the introduction of new amenities as well increased safety is the second strategy consultants recommended.
Other recommendations in the plan include demolition of the Harborview Center, relocation of city hall and the creation of a waterfront cafe and rooftop event space at the Clearwater Main Library. The plan also calls for incentives to create high- and low-rise mixed-use development that includes rental and retail properties.
Not waiting for the grass to grow under their feet, city leaders and staff have already taken steps to implement the master plan.
A press release from Public Communications Director Joelle Castelli outlines the steps currently underway to move forward with implementing the plan. Those steps include:
• Drafting the language for a referendum to be included on the November ballot. Council will vote on the ballot question language in July.
• Preparing the Special Act Amendment that is necessary to allow for the final location for the proposed event pavilion to be presented at the 2018 legislative session. The Special Act Amendment would go to two local delegation hearings this fall.
• Engaging a consultant to enhance the Main Library in downtown Clearwater as an innovative 21st century community library with potential features such as a restaurant and roof top event space.
• Building a waterfront connection that would include a kayak or paddleboard launch.
• Opening a main street storefront in the downtown core to create a space for the public to get more information about Imagine Clearwater and to build excitement for the various Second Century initiatives in and around downtown.
• Exploring the creation of a nonprofit “Friends” group, or conservancy, that may assist with such activities as park fundraising and marketing.
• Drafting a request for qualifications for a design consultant to work on the park elements including the Bluff Walk and the other improvements to the west. This request is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
• Drafting a Request for Proposals to design and build a mixed-use project at the Harborview building site, located at Cleveland Street and Osceola Avenue.
City leaders will revisit the decision of whether or not to purchase a 1.4-acre piece of property adjacent to city hall during the April 20 meeting of city council. The property, located at 301 Pierce St., atop the Clearwater bluff, was recommended by city staff for purchase, and would give the city a contiguous tract of 2.1 acres of property along the north and south sides of Pierce Street between Osceola Avenue and the waterfront.
The purchase of the property, currently owned by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, had been in the works for a while but was delayed the purchase due to a failure to advertise correctly.
The city is facing some stiff competition for the property from the Church of Scientology, whose leader David Miscavige met with city council members on March 14 to announce his plans for a revitalized downtown Cleveland Street that is focused on developing retail businesses and the creation of a entertainment center.