DUNEDIN, Fla. - Nancy Harris readies her store every morning for the day's shoppers. She's owned Palm Lattitudes in Dunedin for the past 15 years and has witnessed the downtown growth first hand.
"Dunedin has a great reputation. Other towns have come to try and model themselves after Dunedin. And it says a lot for us, and for our town and for the county for taking notice," said Harris.
Pinellas County recently extended their Community Redevelopment Agency partnership with Dunedin. It committed millions over the next 20 years to help sustain the economic vibrancy happening here.
"The downtown environment continues to take care, kind of like a lawn; you always want to maintain it. You always want to come up with new things," said Robert Ironsmith, the Dunedin's Economic Development Director.
Harris believes strongly in the benefits of the CRA.
"The CRA has done wonderful things in downtown Dunedin over the years," she said.
In its future CRA plans, the city hopes to move power lines underground along Alternate 19. As well as increase the use of brick on sidewalks and in some roadways. Improving street landscaping along Skinner Blvd. and Highland Avenue.
And, perhaps what's needed most, a parking garage. The city does not have a specific site, but is eyeing several locations.
"When I say the term 'parking structure,' it could very well be a mixed-use situation. It could include some retail on the first floor or a restaurant; or you could have some offices. You could even have a housing type component," explained Ironsmith.
City leaders say that one of the key components to economic growth in Dunedin is a more seamless connection between the marina and downtown.
This fall, work begins on the city's Enhanced Promenade Project.
"This improvement, with a wider walkway and palm trees, and this corridor effect will really improve that connection," Ironsmith said.
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