CLEARWATER – The city of Clearwater will move forward with a feasibility study for enhancements at the Main Library, at a cost of just less than $100,000.
During a city council workshop on July 31, council members accepted a bid for $99,520 by Williamson Dacar Associates to complete a feasibility study to repurpose the main campus of the Clearwater Library as recommended by Imagine Clearwater, the city’s 10-year, $55 million revitalization plan that includes a variety of strategies that would help develop the waterfront to its full potential.
When developing the study, the firm will hold a series of library stakeholders meetings to help develop project goals and objectives, as well as master plan integration strategies.
The stakeholders groups will be comprised of library staff and city leaders and staff.
The scope of the study is to focus on the potential development of the first floor of the library, including the creation of a cafe and outside seating area, as well as the repurposing of the rooftop terrace area on the facility’s highest level.
The second phase of the study will focus on the development of alternate space allocation designs for the interior of the library and will include community workshops to gain feedback.
According to the firm’s presentation, once completed, the report will include a rendered site plan and proposed first floor plan, floor plans for the second through fourth floors, complete with any changes recommended and a preliminary cost for any proposed recommendations.
The feasibility study is expected to be completed within four months.
• In other council news:
Community Redevelopment executive director Seth Taylor updated council members on the status of its recently announced Anchor Tenant Incentive Program, which was approved by council members in May.
“Since we announced the Anchor Tenant program several weeks ago, we’ve had over 100 inquiries from area businesses in the Tampa Bay area,” Taylor said. “So we are now in the process of evaluating those.”
The program will provide a loan to grant funding up to $250,000 to commercial property owners and commercial tenants to assist with interior building improvements, as well as business start up costs such as furniture, fixtures and equipment.
Some of the objectives of that program include the seeking of high quality restaurants and breweries to the downtown corridor; seeking to improve the appearance of downtown commercial buildings; seeking to increase downtown commercial occupancy rate and property values; and promoting downtown Clearwater’s downtown revitalization as a waterfront dining and entertainment destination.
According to the program guidelines, the term of the loan will be five years and for each year the business is in operation, 20 percent of the loan will be forgiven. At the end of five years, should the business remain open, the loan will be forgiven in its entirety and will be converted into a grant.