Two groups, one prime waterfront property in downtown Clearwater. The Church of Scientology and Clearwater city leaders are both interested in the land next to Clearwater City Hall and the Oak Cove Hotel at the Southwest corner of Pierce and Osceola, currently used as an overflow lot and owned by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
The City has been eyeing the property for years to use as part of its downtown waterfront renovation.
The Church of Scientology wants to buy the land to build a project to house visiting parishioners.
The two groups have had an icy relationship for years, but now the leader of The Church of Scientology, David Miscavige, is meeting individually with each City Council member about his land redevelopment plans.
The church insists, unlike many of their properties in Clearwater, they will not file for a religious tax exemption on the site, adding, "We have long been interested in the vacant Osceola lot as it adjoins the Oak Cove Hotel. There are no plans to turn it into a park but rather to fully develop the property for visiting parishioners which would also result in an increase of the tax rolls. The Church is further committed to the revitalization of all of downtown Clearwater and pursuant to the ULI (Urban Land Institute) study, the Church is following their recommendation to take an active and cooperative role in assisting the City in accomplishing that objective. The Church's efforts in this regard extend far beyond its own properties."
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