Thank goodness the debate is over. The issue has finally been settled. The referendum passed with 55% of 17,000 votes cast.
Though the vote was relatively close, it’s clear that CMA’s proposal is favored throughout the city. It won in all but four precincts.
The two downtown precincts (they stretch a bit further out than downtown), were carried by CMA, though it was extremely close – 53% and 51% respectively.
The public has spoken, and it’s time for all of us to support the new direction for downtown. The voters have given CMA the opportunity to show what it can do. CMA thinks big, and this project has the potential to be a game-changer for downtown.
For CMA, their work is just beginning. Fundraising in this economy is a major challenge. Government grants are in short supply. The battle for bed tax dollars will be a major prizefight. But if anyone can pull this off, it’s CMA.
So they have our support in turning this into the best possible outcome for downtown and Clearwater as a whole.
It is vital that each of us stay involved and up to speed during the entire planning process. Not as opponents but as collaborators. Both CMA and the City have committed to us that our voices will be heard. During the past six months, we have gotten to know CMA executive Frank Dame extremely well. He’s always been open and honest with us, and he has already shown that he is sensitive to the needs and concerns of local residents.
We’re in this together. So we urge that there are no hard feelings on either side. The debate was hard fought and even testy at times, but we all have one thing in common: we want the best for downtown.
Here’s to our future!