Urban Land Institute study offers hope for downtown

Stay informedLast year the City commissioned a study from the prestigious Urban Land Institute (ULI) for $125,000. ULI takes on just a few such cases each year, but they were particularly interested in Clearwater’s downtown. They consider it to be the epitome of “untapped potential”.

The study was admirably impartial. lt’s hard to argue with its observations and recommendations, which is why it’s being taken so seriously by so many people. It can be the rallying point that downtown so badly needs.

If you haven’t yet read the final report (September 2014) or viewed the video of the fascinating preliminary presentation (June 2014), it’s well worth the effort.

30 minutesPRESENTATION VIDEO (link) It’s fascinating to watch. It starts with an apology to those it is about to offend, and they don’t pull any punches. The video is nearly two hours long but watch the first 30 minutes no matter what.

FINAL REPORT (link) It’s 39 pages but it doesn’t take long to look through it. TheVision section is particularly important.

Implementing the strategies is going to be an ongoing process. If we want our voices to be heard and taken seriously, we’ll need to be involved every step of the way. Therefore it behooves us to be knowledgeable about the study and its recommendations and cautions. Even if you’ve read or viewed the information before, it’s worth doing it again. Enjoy!

Did you know…

Sweetwater Bakery on Court Street

Sweetwater Bakery is a great little place on Court Street in the 800 block between the Residence Inn and Myrtle, across the street from the dry cleaner. They are the only bakery in the area.

Sweetwater specializes in desserts, which are absolutely delicious. Stop in for a very nice selection or your can order pies, cakes, cupcakes, cookies and other baked goods in advance. They can make just about anything. Just ask Walter, who is the very friendly owner.

They’re open from 10-6 Mon through Fri and 9-2 on Saturday. Phone: 727-282-3001. Website

Did you know…

Cafe Milano Pizzeria

Cafe Milano is an authentic Italian Pizzeria on Fort Harrison between Drew and Cleveland. It features brick oven pizza, pastas, homemade soups, salads, gelato, espresso, cappucino, and imported house wine.

Cafe Milano won a 2012 Best of Tampa Bay award.The pizza is exactly like pizza in Italy, which you rarely find here in the States. It’s delicious! Website

Did you know…

Mana Mana Middle Eastern Cuisine

There’s a great little Middle Eastern restaurant downtown on the corner of Garden and Park, directly right across the street from the bus station and and the Atrium Building. Its name is Mana Mana and it’s a hidden gem!

Specialties include falafel, kebob, shawarma, hummus, baba ganoush and more.

Prices are extremely reasonable, and everything is under $10. Food can be prepared to-go if you desire. Catering is available. Website