CLEARWATER, Fla. — City leaders have signed off on a $15 million improvement project for the Clearwater Beach Marina.
Marina business owners have watched the city transform into a tourist destination over the last few years.
"I've seen eight major hotels going up, and that's just in four years," said Kai Lani owner, Brad Whisler.
But, the 50-year-old marina is too small, dull, and old, according to city leaders and others.
"It's time to upgrade the marina," said Whisler.
The design for the new marina will include new slips, floating concrete docks, and new utility lines.
"We want to preserve that working waterfront atmosphere," Mike Colby said. "People come here to see working charter boats and working sailboats."
Colby is the president of the Clearwater Marine Association. He said some owners are a little concerned that the project will take five years to complete. Many are worried that it'll impact their bottom line.
"We don't want to see too much interruption from mid-February to Memorial Day," said Colby.
Ed Chesney, the director of the City's Marine and Aviation Department, said the project will be done in phases. They will work with the business owners to make sure none of them will have to shut down during the work.
Chesney said the city will start the design this summer. They plan to start putting in the new utilities before actually starting the work on the docks. That part of the project might not start until 2023.