Recently poured concrete forms the shape for the North Bluff Walk, in foreground, as seen from the third floor of the Clearwater Main Library on Monday, Nov 7, 2022, which will provide access to Imagine Clearwater’s new 4,000-seat covered bandshell, in background, at Coachman Park. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
The $84 million renovation of the downtown waterfront, expected to be completed in June, is taking shape.
Imagine Clearwater, the city’s $84 million redevelopment of the downtown waterfront, is inching closer to its targeted June completion date.
About 90 workers with Skanska construction company are toiling daily to transform what used to be the underused Coachman Park and a sprawling asphalt parking lot into a regional destination.
City officials began holding planning workshops for the initiative in 2016, but talk about revitalizing the waterfront goes back decades.
Vertical construction began in July 2021, following the installation of about 5 miles of underground utilities. Now elements of the revitalized park are beginning to become clear.
Workers have recently poured the concrete for the north bluff walk that will wind alongside the Main Library and give broad views of the park and Intracoastal waterway.
A civic gateway will serve as a connection between the park and the rest of downtown and feature a grand staircase and cascading water feature. The lower plaza and green space will feature mural walls and area for gathering.
A pedestrian bridge will allow visitors to walk over a stormwater retention pond that doubles as a way to interact with the water. Nearby, the first piece of playground equipment is being installed. A winding promenade with steps will allow visitors to stroll by or sit along the palm-lined Bayfront and downtown marina with 15-foot torchettes lit with natural gas.
The park will include underground trash bin systems, 835 new trees and extensive landscaping.
But the boldest attraction will be a 4,000-seat covered amphitheater with lawn space for another 5,000 people. The amphitheater will be a niche in Tampa Bay, an outdoor, boutique performance venue that is expected to attract international acts and host graduations and community events with the Intracoastal waterway as the backdrop. The structure will include a VIP event space for reservations of about 100 people as well as extensive facilities for the talent, like dressing rooms and catering areas.
On Tuesday, Clearwater voters approved a referendum to sell two bluff parcels surrounding the park to developers to build a $400 million apartment, hotel and retail project. The bluff projects, which are expected to break ground in 2024, were cast as the necessary catalyst to bring full-time residents and visitors around the revitalized Coachman Park.
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