Tuesday, November 21, 2017
News Roundup

Proposed bill seeks amendment to 1925 law to allow changes on Clearwater waterfront

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CLEARWATER — Rep. Larry Ahern, R-Seminole, has sponsored a proposed bill for the 2018 Legislative session that would amend a 1925 law preventing the city from relocating its concert bandshell for its $55 million Imagine Clearwater redevelopment plan.

The 1925 Special Act, passed when the state granted Clearwater strips of uplands and submerged lands to construct the Causeway Memorial bridge, prohibits any "carnivals or shows of any character" in the 500 feet north of a boundary that runs by the bridge. That 500-foot stretch is nearly the exact location of the proposed site for the new bandshell.

If the Legislature does not amend the Special Act of 1925, the bandshell can not be relocated to the site. The Pinellas County Legislative Delegation must approve Ahern's bill at its November meeting in order for it to be heard in the Legislature.

Imagine Clearwater is a $55 million waterfront redevelopment plan city consultants designed with community input and staff feedback projected to be completed in four years.

The plan calls for turning the current Coachman Park into an active garden; the large parking lot behind the Main Library into a green with the bandshell for concerts; an estuary under the Memorial Causeway; a half-mile Bluff Walk with shaded paths, gardens and terraces; and a gateway plaza with water features and event space at the corner of Cleveland Street and Osceola Avenue.

Voters will have to approve a referendum on the Nov. 7 ballot to allow for the development of the walkways, gardens and other structures below the Bluff.

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