CLEARWATER, Fla. - The views of Clearwater Harbor along East Shore Drive are relaxing. Now the city wants more people to enjoy those views, and they want them to experience it from a 15-foot wide boardwalk.
"This is an area where we have not historically had public access to the waterfront. So, the boardwalk project is the initial phase of opening up that east shore waterfront to public access," explained Michael Delk, Clearwater's Planning and Development Director
Unlike the $30-million Beach Walk that paved the way for business to flourish around it, the boardwalk, which is also part of the long-term Beach by Design plan, will be paid for by property owners along East Shore Dr.
The boardwalk and its access points will be maintained by the city.
"It's kind of a public-private opportunity where we work with the individual property owners as they redevelop their property along the waterfront; and provide some incentives for them," said Delk.
Incentives like easing height restrictions, or allowing more rooms for hotels that express an interest in building along East Shore. Beach hotels have been busy for the past couple of years. Delk said the increase in tourists pose a good problem.
"We're finding really a renewed demand for some new hotel construction," he said.
The boardwalk would connect to the marina district under the causeway and then run north along the coastline for three blocks to Baymont St.
Although several empty lots wait for development, some established properties would be disrupted along the seawall to accommodate to boardwalk.
"If it was at the owners expense and they had to start ripping up the docks and things of that nature, I'm not too sure how that would go. But, I still think, all in all the bigger picture is much greater and for the best," said motel manager Brandi Stallings.
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