Clearwater plans week-long celebration to open Imagine Clearwater in June

The City Council informally agreed to spend $482,000 on the events, culminating with the July 4 fireworks show.
An aerial view of construction in progress at Clearwater's Coachman Park on Wednesday, March 1, 2023.
An aerial view of construction in progress at Clearwater's Coachman Park on Wednesday, March 1, 2023. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published Mar. 13

CLEARWATER — The long-anticipated opening of Imagine Clearwater, the city’s $84 million renovation of the downtown waterfront, will kick off on June 28 with a week of events.

The City Council on Monday informally agreed to allocate $482,000 of general fund reserves to pay for the celebration that will end with the annual July 4 fireworks show. The council is scheduled to vote on the expenditure on Thursday.

Interim parks and recreation director Art Kader said staff wanted to plan a “grand celebration” after about two years of construction, seven years of planning and “20-plus years of dreaming what can happen in the downtown area.”

The park is designed to connect the waterfront with downtown and will include a gateway plaza and bluff walk, 19 acres of park space, a pedestrian promenade along the Intracoastal Waterway, and a playground with splash pad.

A focal point will be the 4,000-seat covered amphitheater with lawn space for 5,000 people. Ruth Eckerd Hall, which will operate the facility, last week unveiled the name of the venue will be The Sound.

The grand opening schedule is still being finalized to solidify the concert performers and times of the daily events, according to communications director Joelle Castelli. The budget includes free Jolley Trolley Park and Ride shuttle service for most of the days. It does not include public safety costs, which the council will have to approve at a later date, Kader said.

Each day will have a theme and the rough schedule will include:

  • A ribbon-cutting ceremony, free community concert and employee wellness walk on June 28 at Coachman Park.
  • A free community concert at The Sound, Pride/diversity initiatives and multicultural dance troupes on June 29
  • An exhibit for Tunnel to Towers, a 9/11-related charity; children’s activities; street performers; a craft beer garden; food trucks and a ticketed concert by Ruth Eckerd Hall at The Sound on June 30.
  • Neighborhood Day promotion and giveaway; a beer garden; a Coachman Park 5k run benefiting Tunnels to Towers; children’s activities; a farmer’s and crafter’s market and a ticketed concert at The Sound on July 1.
  • Latin Dance classes and expo; a DJ; a concert on the lawn and a ticketed performance at The Sound on July 2.
  • A community wellness walk; a community volunteer project; and wellness, walking, running and cycling meetup groups on July 3.
  • A classic car show; a DJ; a photo booth and street performers; a farmer’s and crafter’s market; a free Florida Orchestra concert at The Sound; fireworks on the waterfront and post-fireworks silent disco on the lawn on July 4.