Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Neighbors want more details on Clearwater aquarium plans

Some residents of the high-end Water’s Edge condos are concerned about possible traffic and noise if the aquarium becomes their neighbor.

JIM DAMASKE | Times (2008)

Some residents of the high-end Water’s Edge condos are concerned about possible traffic and noise if the aquarium becomes their neighbor.

CLEARWATER — A path to a November vote on a new aquarium in downtown Clearwater appeared clear at Monday's City Council work session.

Afterward, though, residents of the high-end Water's Edge condominium tower, which would be next door to the proposed $160 million Clearwater Marine Aquarium, buttonholed the aquarium's chief operating officer, Frank Dame, and attorney Brian J. Aungst, peppering them with questions about noise, traffic and after-hours events.

The group, which didn't represent Water's Edge, said they wanted more details.

"I may support it, I may not support, but I want to know the details down here, " said Joe Corvino, lowering his hands below his waist.

"Not up here," he said as he fluttered his hands above his head.

Dame said the aquarium had provided Water's Edge residents with two presentations, but Corvino said those talks were too conceptual. What time would the delivery trucks arrive in the morning for the food court? How late would after-hours events go?

Dame said all those details remain to be ironed out. The design and engineering phase of the project hasn't started. He said Corvino and other Water's Edge residents should email or call him with any concerns.

The aquarium will be a good neighbor, Dame said, but he understands that projections that the aquarium will draw millions of tourists from around the world could lead neighbors to be skittish.

"If I were a Water's Edge resident, I would have the same concerns you do," Dame said.

"We need Water's Edge's support," added Aungst.

The question of whether to lease city-owned property that is west of Osceola Avenue, north of Pierce Street and south of Cleveland Street to the aquarium for up to 60 years will be put to voters in a Nov. 5 referendum.

Monday's council discussion was about how the city charter would need to be amended to allow the lease, which would require moving City Hall to a new location. Only voters can change the city charter. The aquarium will pay the costs for the referendum on the charter changes.

In the proposed ordinance that would enact the changes if voters approve, council members decided to replace a clause that said a new aquarium would "facilitate" downtown development to read that it would "promote" redevelopment for the entire city and spur tourism.

The ordinance would limit the size of the new aquarium to 250,000 square feet.

Another clause stating that the aquarium would promote public access to the waterfront caught Mayor George Cretekos' attention. The public would have access "for a fee," he said.

But the landscaped grounds would be free and it beats other alternatives, said council member Doreen Hock-DiPolito.

"I'd rather have an aquarium than a movie theater, that's for sure," she said.

If voters approve the referendum, the city tennis courts below City Hall would be relocated. The city hasn't decided where to put them yet.

The council is scheduled to vote on the final draft of the ballot language and charter changes at Thursday's regular meeting.

Charlie Frago can be reached at cfrago@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4159. You can follow him on Twitter @CharlieFrago

Neighbors want more details on Clearwater aquarium plans 06/04/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 5:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. E Fletcher Avenue may be closed weeks for cavern repairs

    Roads

    Commuters near the University of South Florida will want to find alternate routes with work continuing to repair a "cavern" under E Fletcher Avenue near the Hillsborough River.

  2. Pasco eyes favoring local vendors for county business

    Local Government

    DADE CITY — Pasco commissioners want to give a leg up to local businesses bidding on county government contracts.

    "It's an economic driver. We owe it to the folks to keep money here, keep jobs here,'' said Pasco Commissioner Mike Wells Jr. about a proposed local preference purchasing ordinance.
  3. Insurance regulators fret over a spike in auto glass claims

    Banking

    TALLAHASSEE — Three months ago, state regulators weren't tracking a surge in broken auto glass claims, particularly in Tampa Bay.

    The issue has their attention now.

    The Office of Insurance Regulation is taking on assignment of benefits abuse in the 2018 legislative session. Pictured is Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier. | [Times file photo]
  4. Rick Baker lowers expectations before St. Pete mayoral primary

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rick Baker officially lowered expectations in the mayoral race on Tuesday, saying his “battle for the future of the city” against Mayor Rick Kriseman might last until November.

    Baker has consistently led in local polls and fundraising totals this summer. But at a fundraiders …

    Rick Baker addresses supporters on Beach Drive Tuesday
  5. Music producer Kevin Erondu, 31, who grew up in Dade City, rose to prominence after creating the beat to "Swag Surfin'," a 2009 club hit that still inspires viral videos today. [Courtesy of Kevin Erondu]