Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Editorials

Times recommends: Yes on Clearwater referendum to improve waterfront

In addition to the Penny for Pinellas referendum, Clearwater voters will be asked to amend the city charter to allow modest improvements along the downtown waterfront. This is another key step for the impressive Imagine Clearwater plan to remake the waterfront into an attractive destination with more amenities and plenty of open space. There is no formal opposition, and city voters should approve the referendum.

Last year, Clearwater voters approved three incremental steps toward enhancing the waterfront. Those referendums allow the city to make modest improvements to the small downtown marina, move and expand the band shell in Coachman Park and expand the uses of the city's attractive library on the downtown bluff overlooking the harbor. Now it's time for voters to take the next step.

The amendment on the Nov. 7 ballot would allow improvements on the downtown waterfront such as playgrounds, water features, artwork and restrooms. It also would allow plazas, sidewalks, trails, boardwalks and similar amenities. These would all enhance the waterfront and make it more user-friendly for those attending concerts, families with children and tourists.

Imagine Clearwater is the master plan to revitalize the downtown waterfront that was approved by the City Council in February. It will include a new Coachman Garden with a modern playground near the library, a grand entry at the site of the existing Harborview Center, and the Green that would include a new bandshell where there is now a parking lot. The city is close to selecting a design consultant and expects to get a design completed within six months of the referendum. City officials hope much of the work could be completed within the next three years.

Even after this referendum, there will be more hurdles to jump before the revamped downtown waterfront reaches its full potential. For example, the Florida Legislature needs to approve legislation next spring to remove outdated language from state law that bans carnivals or shows of any kind on the property where the new band shell would be constructed. When redevelopment proposals are ready in the next few years for the Harborview Center and City Hall sites on the bluff above the waterfront, city officials anticipate voters also would be asked to approve those proposals.

Those decisions are all in the future. The November referendum only allows modest improvements to expand and enhance green space along the waterfront. It enables the Imagine Clearwater plan to keep moving forward, and it is essential to the revitalization of the entire downtown. On the Clearwater referendum question on improvements to the downtown waterfront, the Tampa Bay Times recommends voting Yes.

Comments

Another voice: Self-dealing by nursing home owners threatens patient care

The outsourcing of logistical support services, which became commonplace in the U.S. military in the 1990s and later was adopted by state prison systems, has now come to dominate the nursing home industry. And while nursing homes, unlike the military...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Three years into a crisis with its sewer system, St. Petersburg has a dandy new idea for dealing with the environmental fallout of dumping dirty water into the aquifer. Instead of committing to banning the outlawed practice, a consultant suggested th...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Editorial: Tighten substitute teacher rules in Hillsborough

Editorial: Tighten substitute teacher rules in Hillsborough

A substitute teacher at a Plant City elementary school berated a class of fourth graders — and then the school principal. Another compared a student to a stripper. Others were caught napping, hitting children, making sexual remarks, giving students b...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Editorial: Balancing the playing field for workers’ compensation

Editorial: Balancing the playing field for workers’ compensation

For the longest time, injured workers in Florida were basically at the mercy of the whims of employers to treat them fairly. A 2003 law aimed at reducing the cost of workers’ compensation coverage for businesses had the desired impact, but it also di...
Published: 01/16/18

Another voice: Why just Florida?

Cynicism has always been a part of politics, but rarely are politicians so brazen and self-serving as President Donald Trump and his interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, have been over the past week. First they announced a new offshore drilling plan that ...
Published: 01/16/18
Editorial: King’s legacy still relevant in digital age

Editorial: King’s legacy still relevant in digital age

Today’s holiday honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. couldn’t be more timely. At a moment when the nation’s civic dialogue is choking on personal and political division, it is hard to remember an earlier time when role models were role m...
Published: 01/15/18

Another voice: 38 minutes of fear in Hawaii

In 1938, Orson Welles panicked the nation with a false alarm about a Martian invasion in the radio broadcast The War of the Worlds. That was farfetched, of course. But what happened on Saturday, sadly, was not so hard to imagine — or believe.Authorit...
Published: 01/14/18
Updated: 01/16/18
Editorial: Florida’s chance to make it easier to restore civil rights

Editorial: Florida’s chance to make it easier to restore civil rights

As it has for decades, Florida stubbornly clings to an inhumane, inefficient and indefensible system of justice that permanently sentences more than 1.5 million residents to second-class citizenship. This state automatically revokes the right to vote...
Published: 01/13/18
Editorial: Speak out against Trump’s vulgar remarks

Editorial: Speak out against Trump’s vulgar remarks

President Donald Trump’s vulgar outbursts during a White House meeting on immigration are racist and indefensible no matter how he parses them. They are not presidential, they undermine U.S. foreign relations and they do not reflect America’s values....
Published: 01/12/18

Editorial: Pinellas commission stands up for accountability

The Pinellas County Commission has gotten the message that it should not be a rubber stamp. Commissioners sent a clear signal this week they will demand more accountability of local agencies by refusing to approve nominees for the board for CareerSou...
Published: 01/11/18
Updated: 01/12/18