IRB gulf blvd

The future of Gulf Boulevard will be discussed at a meeting Wednesday, June 19, at City Hall.

INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — Residents and other city stakeholders will be asked to share their thoughts on the future of Gulf Boulevard at a meeting June 19.

A public visioning workshop will be held that Wednesday, June 19, 5-7 p.m. at City Hall, 1507 Bay Palm Blvd. The meeting is being coordinated by Forward Pinellas, the countywide land use and transportation planning agency, and the city of Indian Rocks Beach.

At two meetings earlier this year regarding improvements to Gulf Boulevard to enhance safety for pedestrians and bicyclists, numerous residents spoke up on proposed improvements.

Officials at the June 19 session will delve into several topics for users of Gulf Boulevard.

Issues to be discussed also will include:

• Beautification efforts along Gulf Boulevard

• An upcoming market analysis of the corridor to assess possible development options

• Increasing mobility and safety for all users

The session is the start of a visioning process that Pinellas Forward Executive Director Whit Blanton expects to take from four to six months, involving the city, the civic organization Action 2000 and other major stakeholders.

“The goal from our end is to really help the residents and the city officials understand from a market demand perspective and a community character perspective what they want to see happen on Gulf Boulevard in the future,” Blanton said. “We are not just looking from the curb line to the curb line,” he said.

Consultants will be in Indian Rocks Beach over a couple of days meeting with business operators and others in small groups and one on one. They also will be walking the corridors with residents.

One of the tasks will be to review a study conducted by University of Florida design experts several years ago that proposed a vision for Gulf Boulevard. A lot of the recommendations have not been implemented, Blanton said.

“What we have been asked to do is look at the factors contributed to it not being fully implemented,” he said. “Maybe there were some recommendations that were inconsistent with the countywide plan, which is our responsibility,” he said.

Some of the proposals may have been too costly, he said. Officials will consider what’s still relevant or needs to be revisited.

Without a vision and plan, communities are often reacting to the next proposal that comes before them.

“And that proposal that comes to you may not be anywhere close to what you like it to be. But they may have rights to the land and you have to figure out how to accommodate them,” he said, “or make them go away.

“But if you build consensus on what your vision is and what you want to see happen, then you can put that into your comprehensive plan, you can put that into your development plan and then you can be in a better position to guide future development,” Blanton said.