CLEARWATER (FOX 13) - A familiar "visioning" process is playing out in the area just north of downtown Clearwater: Citizens brainstorm while consultants listen. Then the consultants playback what they think they heard.
That second step occurred Tuesday night with the presentation of three different redevelopment scenarios for Clearwater's North Marina district. That area includes the popular Seminole boat ramp, which nobody foresees going away.
"Of course we can still maintain the boat launch here and that's our goal" senior city planner Kate See told FOX 13 News. "But how could we add some amenities to this?"
The neighborhood's historic North Ward school, now shuttered, is also a local favorite for re-purposing.
"The ecclectic mix of the housing. That's something we keep hearing about. People are very proud of that and they want to maintain that," See said.
The Francis Wilson Playhouse is also a local favorite, although it might be relocated.
Beyond that, the conceptual plans show a mix of new housing, marine, and commercial possibilities. Current zoning laws are already factored in.
"The idea is that when they take a look at those design concepts, they'll be able to know that this is something that could go here. It's somewhat realistic" See explained.
"They" might be potential developers or current landowners. The city will also do a market analysis to estimate how much commercial square footage and how many housing units the area might be able to absorb.
Gabrielle Snap, box office manager of the Playhouse, said it attracts about 3,000 people per community theater show, or roughly 27,000 people per year.
"We're bringing in the people" she told FOX 13 News. "What would be lovely is to not just bring the people in to see our shows, but have them stay in this immediate neighborhood and develop it and not just have it as a corridor to reach somewhere else."
The Playhouse shares the boat ramp's parking lot.
Several blocks off the waterfront, Nancy O'Neill has piloted "Nauti-Nancy's" for five years. The establishment pivots between its less-than-affluent neighborhood and the local boating crowd.
The conceptual plans call for a possible hotel
"...Where people that don't make $100,000 a year, that are on vacation, can drop a boat and then stay without paying $3-400 dollars like they do on the beach" said O'Neill.
Tuesday night's exercise will further refine and consolidate the three redevelopment design concepts. The final document will serve a variety of planning purposes, and tell potential developers and current property owners what projects might be readily accepted, and which might incite local resistance.