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Property's fate worries residents

By Times Staff Writers
Published December 12, 2007


CLEARWATER - Ohio-based Cedarwood Development wants to buy the Shoppes on Sand Key, and the company's plans for the property beyond that are fueling rumors.

In the past month or so, residents have heard the small strip of businesses along the bay will become a hotel. Or maybe a condo tower. They've also heard developers plan to build docks and boat slips along the nearby waterfront.

So far, however, no plans have been submitted to the city.

Still, residents are concerned because this 3-acre strip is the only retail area in Sand Key. Anchored by Backwater's, a restaurant known for its steaks and seafood, this strip at 1261 Gulf Blvd. also includes an Italian restaurant, a men's clothing store and a bank.

Cedarwood wants city officials to give the property a "tourist" zoning designation, which allows restaurants, hotels and condominiums and is consistent with nearby zoning.

The city's Community Development Board, which makes recommendations to the City Council, will further discuss the issue at 2 p.m. Dec. 18 at City Hall.

Mike Donila, Times staff writer


Leaders to coordinate effort for Greenwood

Truancy tops a list of five areas where city officials, pastors and civic leaders say a coordinated focus could help Clearwater's North Greenwood neighborhood.

Following truancy are communication, coordination among groups working in the area, education and parenting.

Those priorities emerged Monday from a meeting of about 20 city officials and North Greenwood representatives who came together to discuss the neighborhood.

Of major concern, some said, is the large number of apparently school-age children milling around in the streets on weekdays.

To address these issues, the group outlined strategies that would give churches and faith-based organizations a larger role in following up on reports of trouble involving North Greenwood residents.

The group held its first meeting last month after news reports about the video Da Hood Gone Wild, which was shot largely in North Greenwood. The DVD shows street brawls, police being heckled by large crowds and people trying to purchase drugs on the street during the day.

Demorris A. Lee, Times staff writer

Aquarium raising money to revamp its facility

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium's administrators say their operation has brought more attention to the city than any other organization.

They tout the aquarium as a premier beach attraction where otters are rehabilitated, stranded manatees are rescued and a tailless dolphin named Winter has drawn worldwide attention.

But aquarium representatives say their 60-year-old facility needs about $650,000 in repairs and upgrades. And that's not counting the $450,000 already spent last year on general improvements and exhibit upgrades.

So far the operation has raised $90,000 in donations. Last week, the Clearwater City Council voted 4-1 to give the center $225,000.

Mike Donila, Times staff writer

New business to open during celebration

For the first time in more than two years, downtown Cleveland Street will welcome a new retail business.

Jamba Juice, a chain of smoothie restaurants based in Emeryville, Calif., is expected to open Friday, the day the city celebrates the completion of a new $10-million streetscape project on Cleveland.

The restaurant, which has 26 locations in Florida, including one at Clearwater Mall, will lease a spot at 432 Cleveland St., across from Starbucks coffee shop.

Mike Donila, Times staff writer


Nativity scene returns with multifaith items

Baby Jesus is back, in a new spot, with some new friends, including a menorah.

Last year, a resident's complaint led Safety Harbor officials to remove a nativity scene with 2-foot figurines from in front of City Hall.

This year, a new creche, with additional figures including the three wise men, is again on public property, this time at the gazebo at John Wilson Park. And nearby, city officials have displayed the nine-branch candelabrum used during Hanukkah.

But if the multifaith displays represent a stab at being inclusive, not everyone is impressed.

"I still think it's wrong, but I'm not going to fight the city again," said resident Brad Messick, who complained last year about the manger scene at City Hall. "They are going to do what they want anyway."

Eileen Schulte, Times staff writer

[Last modified December 11, 2007, 22:47:58]

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