Plan For Downtown Bayfront Promenade Reviewed
By Anne McKay Garris
An opportunity for pedestrians, skateboarders, bicyclists and other non-motorized vehicles to venture out over the water in front of Clearwater's downtown Coachman Park is planned as 6,417 square foot public pier constructed on the existing pilings which formerly supported the Memorial Causeway Bridge. The pier will extend 200 feet and be 32 feet wide. This is not as wide as the existing pilings, the unused portion of which will be removed as the pier is built.
Called a promenade by the documents put out by Clearwater City Staff, approval for it will be before the Pinellas County Water and Navigation Control Authority on Tuesday, May 6, 2008, at a meeting which begins at 9:30 a.m. It will be held in the County Commission Assembly Room on the 5h floor of the Pinellas County Courthouse at 315 Court Street in Clearwater. Citizens are welcome to attend and express their support or opposition before the decision is made.
The promenade was part of a change to Clearwater City Charter brought before the electorate on March 13, 2007. The City Council asked that the charter requirement that nothing but open space/recreation use be developed on the downtown waterfront be amended. An approximately 60% to 40% vote approved the amendment which included the building of up to 140 boat slips for private rental plus a dock for daytime tie ups.
According to a spokesman for the County's Water and Navigation Section, this is the first item that has come before them for approval from the list approved in the March 2007 referendum. Not yet submitted is the much more serious question of the proposed boat slips.
Property owners adjacent to the proposed promenade site were sent notices of a preliminary administrative hearing were on Monday, March 31. No citizens attended.
City officials see the use of the new promenade as similar to Pier 60 on the Beach, perhaps minus the Sunsets craftsmen, and with a little more freedom of movement by skateboarders and skaters. It will be free to the public, with no charge for admissions.
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