HR&A developed an action-oriented, community-led master plan to activate a 66-acre waterfront site in downtown Clearwater.
While Clearwater Beach has witnessed significant growth in recent years, Clearwater’s downtown and its adjacent waterfront have seen less redevelopment, cultural programming, and recreational activity than similar downtown waterfronts in the Tampa Bay region. Clearwater’s downtown waterfront is a beloved civic asset. Home to Coachman Park and the Main Library, the waterfront is an important community gathering place, hosting cultural events that attract visitors from across the region. Nonetheless, citizens across Clearwater recognize that the waterfront and bluff are underutilized assets, including large surface parking lots and the aging Harborview Center, and view an opportunity to transform the area into a destination for all of Clearwater.
HR&A, working with Sasaki Associates, Kimley-Horn, and B2 Communications, developed a vision to transform Clearwater’s downtown park into an expanded signature space as a way to rebrand downtown, increase visitation, improve connectivity and accessibility, and catalyze adjacent residential development. This plan included a phased redevelopment strategy for potential catalyst sites, a vision and framework for public and private investment, and an action-oriented implementation plan. Throughout the master planning process, HR&A worked with the City to conduct a comprehensive public engagement strategy that included seven community workshops, with over 700 community members participating. Imagine Clearwater, the actionable master plan was presented to City Council, stakeholders, and the general public in January 2017.
Since City Council’s approval of the master plan in early 2017, the City – in partnership with key stakeholders who participated in the master planning process – has moved to make the vision laid out in Imagine Clearwater a reality. In November 2017, Clearwater voters overwhelmingly approved modifications to the City Charter to allow for changes to City-owned parcels along the master plan, a key step in the implementation process. As it continues to seek necessary multijurisdictional approvals, the City is also currently developing a detailed design and engineering scheme for the redevelopment, due to be completed by the mid-late 2020s.