Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

'Dolphin Tale' exhibit coming to Clearwater's Harborview Center

CLEARWATER — The Clearwater Marine Aquarium has won approval to open a tour of movie sets and props in the Harborview Center, capping a month's mad dash of negotiations and sparking new hopes for revitalizing downtown.

The City Council on Thursday unanimously approved a lease granting the Harborview's second floor to the aquarium for at least a year at an annual cost of $1. The aquarium will pay the city back for more than $100,000 in repairs.

The site, 2 miles from the aquarium on Island Estates, will be the aquarium's best chance at crowd control after the Sept. 23 premiere of Dolphin Tale, a 3-D film based on the story of Winter, the aquarium's claim to fame.

Inside the Harborview, crews will reconstruct the movie-set home and garage of Ashley Judd's character in the film. Displays will showcase props from Morgan Freeman's office and Harry Connick Jr.'s houseboat in the film. Though the site will include a small touch tank, Winter and the aquarium's three other dolphins will remain at the aquarium.

Crews will begin moving in the equipment this month. The site will open in November. Aquarium chief executive officer David Yates said admission could cost about $7, though most details, including the new site's name and design, remain in the planning stage.

After weeks of discussion, council members were quick to support the lease Thursday. Member Paul Gibson said only, "Let's go."

The proposal had faced a rocky start. City officials dislike the old Harborview, a defunct convention center that never found its niche and takes up space where Coachman Park could be expanded. Empty, the Harborview still costs the city $60,000 a year to maintain. Leaders wanted to demolish it so badly that they paid its last tenant $600,000 to leave.

And the aquarium's first proposal for moving the exhibit into the Harborview won few early fans. The proposal offered no financial help, required hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs and demanded a hasty turnaround. In a tight budget year, City Council members recalled that they had previously granted two subsidies to the not-for-profit aquarium since 2007, totalling about $1 million.

Ultimately, repair estimates dropped, and the aquarium offered to cover all of the city's costs. And council members warmed to the idea of an attraction that could help businesses in the Harborview's shadow.

"It alleviates some of the pressure on Island Estates, and hopefully it will bring some people downtown," Mayor Frank Hibbard said. "It's a good situation for both of us."

Contact Drew Harwell at (727) 445-4170 or dharwell@sptimes.com.

'Dolphin Tale' exhibit coming to Clearwater's Harborview Center 09/02/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 2, 2011 7:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Boy Scouts apologize over Trump's remarks at jamboree

    National

    Facing an angry backlash from parents and former members, the chief executive of the Boy Scouts of America apologized on Thursday for political remarks made by President Donald Trump at the organization's national jamboree this week, during which the commander-in-chief crowed over his election victory, attacked the news …

    President DonaldTrump, front left, gestures as former boys scouts, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, left, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, watch at the 2017 National Boy Scout Jamboree at the Summit in Glen Jean, W.Va. Boy Scouts president Randall Stephenson told the Associated Press on Wednesday, July 26, in his first public comments on the furor over President Donald Trump's speech on Monday that he'd be "disingenuous" if he suggested he was surprised by the Republican president's comments. [Associated Press]
  2. Drones restrictions coming at Tampa Bay area airports

    Airlines

    Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems, according to a press release.

    In this February 2017 file photo, a drone flies in Hanworth Park in west London. Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems,
[John Stillwell/PA via AP, File]
  3. Hit-run driver who refused to leave van threatened to shoot, Hillsborough deputies say

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Eddie Carly Colon Soto peeked his head out the broken side window of his van as a SWAT team closed in.

    The driver of this van tried to flee the scene of a crash in north Tampa Thursday morning until he could travel no farther, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said. Then he refused to leave the van and threatened sheriff's deputies, they said. [TONY MARRERO   |   Times]
  4. Get the latest Tampa Bay Buccaneers news delivered daily to your email inbox

    Bucs

    They narrowly missed the playoffs by thismuch.

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans (13) celebrates with quarterback Jameis Winston (3) after they connected for a touchdown during a win over the Seattle Seahawks in November in Tampa. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. Police release name of man found dead in north Tampa vacant lot

    Crime

    TAMPA — Authorities have released the name of a man found dead in a vacant lot in north Tampa on Tuesday and have confirmed his death is a homicide.