CLEARWATER -- There is no marina in the foreseeable future for Clearwater at the foot of Coachman Park.
This was made clear at Tuesday morning's City Council workshop on the budget.
Some $2 million that had been in the capital improvements for such a marina to be paid with Penny for Pinellas funds was eliminated, Tina Wilson, the city's budget director, said in her recitation of changes in "Penny" projects.
Councilmember Bill Jonson said he thought the marina was still in the works. "You're not doing a marina there?" he asked.
Wilson explained that such plans were continuously postponed and that "the two million can be better used in other ways."
Assistant City Manager Gary Brumback backed this up by saying, "Two million dollars wouldn't cover the cost to begin with and we have a real use for that money."
Brumback added that he thought the marina at the foot of Cleveland Street "looks like a Penny three project."
The reference was to the local option sales tax that adds one penny to the sales tax. The Penny for Pinellas plan is now in its second 10 year phase that runs out in 2010. A third phase would have to be approved by referendum.
This was one item in a session Tuesday morning in which the council heard items from the capital improvement program, a report on the Clearwater Gas System (which seems to be doing fine), and marine and aviation operations.
According to Chuck Warrington, director of the gas company, Clearwater Gas's net return to the city, its owner, is up 95 percent since 1993.
Warrington painted a picture of an efficient, growing enterprise that has increased productivity shown by the figures of one employee to every 209 customers, up from 127, an increase of 64.5 percent.
Among plans down the road in the capital projects is the Joe DiMaggio sports complex, which would be a joint effort, hopefully, among the city, county and state.
Mayor Frank Hibbard sounded a cautionary note on this. "This long-term planning is good," he said, "but these advance projects that would be funded by Penny for Pinellas have in mind Penny three which is not even approved yet."
Future projects include improvements at Crest Lake Park, Countryside sports complex, McMullen tennis courts and "Dog park north."
Also in the planning is a senior citizen center. Because of its amorphous state, City Manager Bill Horne suggested that a better name might be "senior citizen services," an idea quickly adopted by the council. There are no specific plans yet for such services.
Many of the projects would be partially funded by grants and donations.
Hibbard emphasized that he did not want "unrealistic expectations," referring to money for the DiMaggio project which would require $2 million in donations.
"I will be very impressed if we get two million in donations," Hibbard said. "When you look at the donations for the library it doesn't seem realistic."
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