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Clearwater Marina Walk project moving forward

Veronica Brezina

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A rendering of Marina Walk, a new promenade and revision of the Clearwater Beach Marina. All images: Moffatt and Nichol.

City officials are on board with plans to revamp the aging Clearwater Beach Marina, and draw more users and tourists to the area with a linkage to the popular Beach Walk promenade. 

In working with engineering group Moffat and Nichol Inc., the new vision of further activating the 165-slip recreational and commercial marina with a plaza-type environment will come to life.

The planned Marina Walk project entails establishing an inviting and walkable destination along the waterfront by building a large boardwalk area, adding new floating docks for transient users, and amenities such as eclectic boat-charging stations and ticketing kiosks. 

“Back in October last year, you gave us good direction of where you wanted us to go,” Nicole Pauly, a marine structural engineer with Moffatt and Nichol, said during a Nov. 13 Clearwater City Council work session meeting. 

The initial goals, which remain intact, include replacing the marina docks that have reached the end of their useful life, and an eastward expansion towards Beach Walk. 

New renderings show shade structures, seating and public art along the marina’s edge. 

Since presenting the plan a year ago, Pauly said the team has identified the need to replace and raise the bulkhead, which is a seawall-like structure used to stabilize soil conditions on a shoreline. 

In modernizing the marina, there would also be at least two electric boat-charging stations. 

The team said the plans require dredging in the commercial boating area, but it will not impact the operations of the Clearwater Ferry, which docks at the marina and connects to Dunedin. 

Councilmembers previously expressed concerns about the proposed elimination of parking spaces to make way for the new promenade. Pauly said the team originally planned to cut 60 spaces, but the number has been reduced to 38, and it will still meet parking demands. 

Due to the additions and bump in supply chain costs, the estimated price tag for the project has jumped from $28 million to $34.6 million.

Pauly said the engineering team has applied for funding through the Pinellas County Tourism Development Council and a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Sportfish Restoration Program, which was created to support fishery conservation and outdoor recreational projects. 

Both funding requests are currently under review. 

Pauly said a general contractor has been selected and will open the sub-contracting bid process in January. The group expects to commence construction in May or June. 

The project would be built in two phases, starting with the west side. The commercial boaters would temporarily relocate to the east side. 

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