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Here's what is planned for Coachman Park amphitheater
© St. Petersburg Times, published June 23, 2000
There has been some confusion regarding the ownership and future usage of the Coachman Park amphitheater, as it relates to the Clearwater downtown development plan. I would like to clarify those issues.
In the downtown development master plan, Coachman Park will be expanded to 923,000 square feet of city-owned and operated public space.
The new grass-terraced amphitheater will be a part of that park and will continue to be owned and managed by the city of Clearwater. The new amphitheater will be constructed with city and private contributions.
The developers have requested a license (not a lease) to use the amphitheater on 60 event days during the year. It is their intent to provide a weeknight downtown festival, similar to their "Thursday Nights on Clematis Street" in West Palm Beach, which would bring people to downtown Clearwater on a regular night during the week.
That weeknight festival would use 52 of the developers' 60 events. The other eight events would be provided by the developer at times agreed upon by the city and the developer, when there are no other planned events at Coachman Park.
All developer-initiated events would have to be self-supporting, so that any additional city services required would be covered by the event's sponsorships or other revenue.
The city now approves and maintains a long-term calendar of events at Coachman Park. The events that are annually on that calendar (Clearwater Celebrates America 4th of July Festival, Jazz Holiday, Folk Arts Festival, Summer Concert Series, etc.) and possibly other future events can continue to be held in Coachman Park and take first priority.
The developers' 60 dates will then be placed on the city-maintained calendar. Then, other dates will be added upon request by sponsoring organizations, just as they are now scheduled through the Special Events permitting process, managed by the Parks and Recreation Department.
If you have additional questions, please call me at (727) 462-6800, ext. 226.
See Web site for facts, not misinformation, about the bluff
Re: Pro-development group doesn't speak for all, letter, June 18.
Rude behavior from "Save the Bayfront" is difficult enough to tolerate, but outright false statements warrant immediate correction.
In his letter, Arthur X. Deegan II of "Save the Bayfront" wrote, "giving away the right of our children to call the bluff and bayfront their public land." Mr. Deegan is fundamentally misinformed. The following quotation, provided by City Attorney Pam Akin's office, is posted on the www.clearwater-fl.com Web site:
"A yes vote also allows the development, use and maintenance of the Bayfront Park, amphitheater, Cleveland Streetscape improvements, Osceola Place, Botanical Gardens and other improvements shown in the Downtown Master Plan of Development. These improvements and properties will be public and not leased to the Master Developer."
Please feel free to go to www.clearwater-fl.com for the facts regarding the referendum on our downtown restoration.
What do Clearwater bayfront developers have to hide?
I fail to understand the reluctance of the proposed developers of the Clearwater bayfront to divulge their financial statements. According to them there is no contract with the city and therefore no requirement that they provide evidence of financial wherewithal to complete the project.
I find this most disturbing, particularly in light of the experience suffered by St. Petersburg in their effort to redevelop. Our developers ask that we give them the most valuable land in Pinellas County based upon promises backed up by nothing. They can use this land as collateral for loans and if they go broke, do you think the banks are going to just up and give the city back the land?
Until these people prove to us that they have the financial resources to deliver, we would be remiss to give this property away. I certainly don't feel comfortable leaving that up to the City Commission and their consultant, who seems to represent the developer more than the city.
There is no rush to get this done, so why not get it all out on the table before making a decision that will affect the city for decades to come?
It's hard to tell who sent brochure about redevelopment
In the mail I received a brochure about the Clearwater bluff/bayfront redevelopment. I was interested in the remarkably attractive pictures in it. Then I saw the note on the outside that ordered me to "Forget what you've heard! Forget what you've read," and told me to pay attention only to the computer-enhanced pictures instead of listening to the "spin doctors with hidden motives."
The brochure was sent by people calling themselves "Citizens For A Better Clearwater." Who are these people? They seem to think they have the right to order me to ignore everything except what they choose to show me. Who are they? There is no record at City Hall of who paid for their pretty brochure. The names on their literature are few and unknown to me.
On the other hand, the guiding committee of Save The Bayfront (referred to as "critics" in the brochure) are well-known to all of us. They have put their names and reputations on the line in the past to serve our city and, in my opinion, are well worth listening to. They have done their best, in their turn, with no whisper of "hidden motives." We might not always agree with them, but we have no reason to believe they'd lie to us.
Largo should stick with its own, smaller police department
Is a larger police force really better?
The initiative by the Sheriff's Office to take over Largo's police force is interesting. True, it may save some money initially, but is the quality of police protection really going to be improved by having it gobbled up by a large bureaucracy?
And won't the Sheriff's Office gradually disperse police coverage more on the basis of where the highest crime is in the county rather than having resources dispersed more evenly as a crime deterrent?
When the small town of Redington Beach had its own police department, police cruisers would come by my house in this safe area several times a day, making it so safe that it wasn't even necessary to lock the doors. Now, living in the Sand Key section of rapidly growing Clearwater, seeing a Clearwater police car here is an extremely rare event, making the deterrent for crime and reckless driving almost non-existent.
Folks in Largo would be better to stick with their own smaller police department that they can control.
It's time to spend money on projects other than trails
Re: Path clears to create better East-West Trail, June 11 story.
Last year, when the city of Clearwater threatened to raise taxes because of the need for improved fire stations, equipment and personnel, it spent $120,000 of city funds on 0.7-mile of more Pinellas Trail and planned to spend $150,000 more on the little-known East-West Trail. Sure, the state provided money toward it also, but $270,000 of our money was and is to be spent.
It seems that with the miles and miles of Pinellas Trail now available, it is time (really past time) to spend our money on projects that the whole city needs, not just for recreation. What about the needs of the fire department, recycled water for the city and the long put-off desalination plant? These are things, among others, that we need!
My father taught me to spend your money for things you need and if there is any left, for things you want.
Also, why must we spend many thousands of dollars for trail overpasses over streets with traffic lights? If a person is on the trail for recreation, he surely has time to wait until the light changes. If the concern is about cars turning right on red, simply do not allow right-on-red turns at those intersections.
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