Big changes could be coming soon to downtown Clearwater. Wednesday night is your last chance to weigh in on some new plans to enhance the waterfront and add new features to make Clearwater more of a destination.
The biggest addition? A huge new band shell right down on the water, just off of Drew Street, which will be 3 times bigger than the concert area at Coachman Park.
There are also plans in the works for a waterfront restaurant and cafe, park, garden, walking trails, a splash pad for kids and bike paths.
Clearwater leaders are desperate to find new ways to bring you downtown. Although a lot of people make their way to Clearwater Beach, they’ve struggled to attract tourists to the downtown area for more than two decades.
They want you to have a place to shop, dine, stroll and look at the gorgeous waterfront, and because the Clearwater Jazz Holiday has been so popular, music will be a big focus in the downtown plan.
After 6 months of community meetings, the “Imagine Clearwater” plan is starting to materialize. Clearwater City Council members could make a final vote on it by late December.
If you'd like to weigh in on the plan, Wednesday’s meeting is at 6:30 PM at the Downtown Clearwater Main Library. You can also reach out to the city on Facebook or via email.
You might be wondering; how will the city pay for these upgrades? The financing hasn’t been worked out. City leaders tell us once they finalize plans to make the waterfront a place for bustling activity, they'll worry about the financing. Some taxpayers urge the city to steer clear of making them foot the bill.
A lot of you have been giving us suggestions on Facebook about what you'd like to see down here.
We heard more parking-- and found out there will be several dozen new parking spots on the way.
We also heard a skate park for teens, as well as basketball and tennis courts. Those are all things the city is also considering.
But by far the biggest feedback we got was about the number of buildings owned by the Church of Scientology. The city has had trouble in the past working with church leaders on development and buying private land without being outbidded by the Church of Scientology, but recently the head of the church said he's also in support of the development of downtown.
(© 2016 WTSP)