LISTEN: Clearwater Votes on Major Downtown Referendum

CLEARWATER - Voters in Clearwater who fill out their ballots all the way to the end will decide on a plan to sell the old City Hall site and other land owned by the city to developers.

Mayor Frank Hibbard says the $400 million proposal would result in a hotel, high-end apartments, retail and restaurants in the Bluffs area near the waterfront on Clearwater Bay. Hibbard says it would complement the Imagine Clearwater project approved by voters in 2016. That project includes an expanded waterfront park and a new bandshell, due to open next year.

The mayor says Clearwater's downtown needs to catch up to two decades of revitalization efforts in Tampa and St. Petersburg. "This really has been a lost opportunity over the years, and now it's time to change our perspective and try something new."

Hibbard says that if the developers, DeNunzio Group and the Gotham organization, decide to sell out, the terms mean they can only sell out to other developers, not to any not-for-profit organizations. That would presumably include downtown Clearwater's largest landowner, the Church of Scientology.

Listen to an interview with Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard below.

Photo: Canva

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