City council will discuss updates on GE center, pedestrian safety tonight
CLEARWATER — City Manager Bill Horne told the city council Monday during its work session that a feasibility study to determine whether a plan for a $100 million downtown aquarium is feasible may be delivered next week.
“We were told that the executive summary would be made available by the end of February,” said Horne, who received an update from Clearwater Marine Aquarium chief operating officer Frank Dame last week. The report might be available to the city on or before March 10.
CMA hired AECOM, a Los Angeles-based management and technical services firm, in September to conduct the study. A company spokesman didn't return a call requesting comment.
Consultants are expected to analyze attendance projections, the size of the facility, tourism and residential demographics and ticket prices, and compare them to other national aquariums.
In other news from Monday's work session:
• The city council will vote by consent agenda tonight to approve an agreement with Instrument Transformers, Inc., that offers $262,500 in incentives to expand their manufacturing operations which will result in 263 new jobs and a $46 million expansion to their current site.
Instrument Transformers, a subsidiary of General Electric Company, is currently located at 1907 Calumet Street and has been in Clearwater for 38 years. They will expand the Calumet Street facility and create a manufacturing Center of Excellence.
• Police chief Anthony Holloway advised that the department was awarded a $29,036 grant from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to be used towards education and enforcement of pedestrian and bicycle safety.
The police chief said that many pedestrian-related crashes and fatalities are due to mistakes made by the pedestrian, not the motorist. One of the major causes of pedestrian fatalities is failure to cross at a traffic signal or in designated crosswalks.
“Other common causes of pedestrian-related crashes can be directly related to risky behavior and impaired judgment on the part of the pedestrian,” said Holloway.
The funding will allow police to establish programs to raise public awareness and add more manpower for enforcement.
Many of the target areas for enforcement are streets along the city beaches. The target areas include: Memorial Causeway bridge, the beach roundabout and nearby crosswalks, the 400 block of Mandalay Avenue, the 300-400 blocks of South Gulfview Boulevard, the 1100-1200 blocks of Gulf Boulevard, South Missouri Avenue, Chestnut Street, Court Street, 400-800 Cleveland Street, 1300-2400 blocks of Gulf to Bay Boulevard and Gulf to Bay Boulevard at U.S. Highway 19.
• The city council is also expected to approve by consent agenda a four-month concession operations agreement with Edward Bates, also known as Kinney's Kitchen, to provide food concession services for programs and activities held at the EC Moore Softball Complex.
Kinney's has been providing concession services for the City sporting events at the complex for the past several years. The current agreement with Kinney's ends this month. City staff requested this interim agreement in order to prepare a new request for proposals for concession services. Under the new agreement, Kinney's will pay a license fee of $9,000 for the four months of operations.
The city council will meet tonight at 6 in its chambers in city hall, 112 S. Osceola Ave. Citizens may speak to any agenda item during the public comment part of the meeting.