CLEARWATER - The Sand Key Civic Association will host a forum on the proposal to lease city hall to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Tuesday, Oct 8, 7 p.m. at the Clearwater Community Sailing Center on Sand Key.
Clearwater voters Nov. 5 will decide if they want to allow the city of Clearwater to negotiate a 60-year lease with the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and relocate City Hall. The Sand Key Civic Association is hosting a forum at which representatives from the CMA and Friends of Clearwater, the Political Action Committee that opposes CMA’s proposal, will get to present their positions.
“I noticed that the CMA was invited to speak at several organizations but not the Friends of Clearwater,” said SKCA President Arlene Musselwhite, in a press release. “The SKCA Board agreed that we should bring together both viewpoints – that way voters can hear all sides of this important issue and get their questions answered, so they can make an informed decision on Nov 5. So far, we believe that we are the only organization that is hosting such a forum,” she said.
Under the current proposal, the City Hall building, built in 1966, would be razed at CMA’s expense, although the city would pay for asbestos mitigation. The aquarium would then build a new $160.5 million facility on the site.
The aquarium would pay the city $7.5 million to build a new City Hall by giving the city 50 cents from a surcharge on every ticket during the estimated 15 years it would take to pay off the entire amount. Interest would be paid at a rate equal to five-year U.S. Treasury bonds. After the $7.5 million has been paid off annual rent will be $250,000.
For questions about the forum, Call Musselwhite at 644-7524.