Slips for Rent - Lots of Them
By Carl Wagenfohr
Four lonely boats float last week in the recently opened south basin of Clearwater's Downtown Boat Slips facility.
CLEARWATER - After years of debate, several public referenda and numerous promises that the facility would be self-supporting, Clearwater's Downtown Boatslips opened on May 17th not with a bang, but with the relative silence of a handful of boat owners maneuvering into their new slips.
Thus far, only the south basin has opened. Construction on the north basin had been halted due to concerns that pilings could be driven into underwater utilities whose locations were not precisely known. Construction in the north basin has since resumed, although no target date has been set for its completion.
The city has only 29 confirmed reservations for the 126-slip facility. Having paid-off the marina's debt with funds from Penny for Pinellas and Reserves, the city is hoping for cash-flow break-even next year.
City Finance Director Margie Simmons said that next year's revenues will be estimated conservatively and that operating expenses will be trimmed to be in-line with revenues as much as possible, until the number of slips rented increases.
A grand opening celebration, originally eyed for Fall 2009, has not yet been planned.
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