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Groundbreaking for $64M waterfront project canceled due to cost concerns

Groundbreaking on Imagine Clearwater project on hold until officials are "comfortable" with costs

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  • | 8:06 a.m. May 24, 2021
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CLEARWATER — Groundbreaking on a $64 million project that will reshape downtown Clearwater and its waterfront has been canceled as city officials address issues with costs.

The ceremonial groundbreaking was scheduled for Monday morning, May 24. 

An emailed statement from city officials states“the event will happen at a future date after officials are more comfortable with construction costs.”

There were no details about what the concerns are. A city spokeswoman told the Business Observer last week that the cost of the project could go up if City Council members decide “to add items back in that have been ‘value engineered’ out of the project to meet budget.”

While the groundbreaking has been put on an indefinite hold, work on the project is expected to go on. The city said in its statement that underground and utility work is already underway and will continue, and that major construction is expected to begin in late summer.

Imagine Clearwater is a $64 million project that includes a new 4,000-seat covered amphitheater at Coachman Park and walkway on the Intercoastal Waterway.

Along with the amphitheater, the city will add trails that connect the park to downtown, a lake with picnic areas and “an ocean-themed play area with an interactive pop-jet water feature.” 

The city is also working to develop three waterfront parcels on Osceola Avenue near the park.

The parcels include 1.43 acres on Osceola Avenue and Cleveland Street, the former site of Harborview Center. The site was once the home of the Maas Brothers department store, which was the center of downtown life in the city for 30 years until it closed in 1991.

The others two parcels are a 2.6-acre piece of property on Pierce Street and Osceola Avenue that was the site of Clearwater’s former City Hall; and a 1.23-acre piece on Osceola Avenue and Pierce Street across the street from the former City Hall site.

City officials heard from potential developers about what could be done with those properties at a public meeting May 17.


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