CLEARWATER – The on-again, off-again proposal to spend up to $100,000 to have the Nashville-based public relations firm of North Star Destination Strategies identify and enhance the “brand” by which visitors perceive Clearwater was finally passed at the Aug. 7 meeting.
At the Clearwater City Council’s July 14 work session, the councilmembers had unanimously agreed to put the matter on the consent agenda for their July 17 meeting, virtually guaranteeing its rubber-stamp approval.
In the meantime, however, Vice Mayor Doreen Hock-DiPolito read an article in Business Observer magazine about a “branding” job North Star had done for the City of Enterprise, Florida. She said it seemed slanted against women. Worse yet, she said, North Star had commissioned a logo for Enterprise with the word “Florida” in green letters except for the letter “I,” which was in the shape of a man’s necktie, and the words, “The perfect climate for business.”
To Hock-DiPolito, who runs her family’s construction company, the logo implied that business is solely the domain of men. She requested that the matter be pulled off the agenda pending further study.
At the council’s Aug. 4 work session, Hock-DiPolito still expressed reservations about North Star. But she reluctantly agreed to place the item on the consent agenda of the Aug. 7 meeting, where it was passed unanimously without further discussion.
City settles accident claim
CLEARWATER – The Clearwater City Council unanimously voted on Aug. 7 to pay Kristina Marie McGarry $30,000 in full settlement of her claim against the city for injuries she sustained when her car was rear-ended by a city-owned vehicle driven by a city employee while she was making a right turn from Missouri Avenue onto Court Street. Without the settlement, the city risked having to pay damages of up to $200,000, the maximum Florida law allows in negligence suits where the defendant is a municipality.
McGarry is the latest in a long string of people who received five-figure settlements for injuries they received in accidents where Clearwater employees were involved. Previously, Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos said that if the trend continues, the city is going to have to do something to crack down on careless driving by city employees.
Apartment and retail complex planned for Prospect Lake site
CLEARWATER – By a unanimous vote on Aug. 7, the Clearwater City Council approved the sale of a 5.9-acre parcel of surplus city-owned property in the Cleveland Street District to the Community Redevelopment Agency. The CRA plans to have Prospect Park Development, LLC build a mixed-use complex on the site, one block east of the Downtown Core.
Plans call for 257 market-rate apartments and up to 24,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. Approximately seven of the units will be live/work units, which front Cleveland Street and have both retail/office space and a residential component. The complex also will have 300 parking spaces and approximately 10,000 square feet of “accessory uses” such as the leasing office, an exercise area and a business center.
Police Department gets $58,283 federal grant
CLEARWATER – The Clearwater Police Department has been awarded a $58,283 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. The money will be used to pay the salaries of 1.4 “full-time equivalent” employees who will review, approve and disseminate reports filed by officers in the Patrol Division.