That big-name act you would love to see play live on the waterfront.
A farmers market with all fresh goods for your family.
Hearing the local high school band jazz up the park.
Seeing your child walk across the stage at an outdoor waterfront graduation.
Enjoying and supporting the work of local artists at a festival.
Clearwater’s Coachman Park Redevelopment Plan is the project that will bring all these visions to life. Construction of a $15-million, 4,000-seat covered amphitheater, as cornerstone of a redeveloped Coachman Park, is slated to begin this summer following approval in June 2020 by the Clearwater City Council.
The Coachman Park plan is a part of the Imagine Clearwater planning process, a community-driven series of public workshops where the city worked diligently to establish a plan for revitalizing the park and its surrounding areas.
On June 18, 2020, the City Council voted to move the amphitheater to the north end of Coachman Park facing Clearwater’s Main Library, which will also undergo around $3 million in renovations. In an effort to obtain the best value for taxpayers, the council also voted to save $5 million by opting not to build an elevator and fifth-floor addition initially planned for the library during the Imagine planning process.
The plan for improvements to Coachman Park came to fruition following an overwhelming vote by the citizens of Clearwater in 2017 to allow for construction there.
“The Coachman Park Redevelopment Plan prioritizes the music venue in a convenient and manageable location at the north end of Clearwater’s downtown waterfront,” said Clearwater Assistant City Manager Michael Delk.
The park’s design will preserve the legacy of the Coachman family, Clearwater pioneers who played an instrumental role in the area’s progress for more than a century. E.H. Coachman, and his wife, Mary Moase, built their home, Bay Hall, on land where the Main Library now sits. They lived in the home until the Coachman’s sold the land to the city for construction of the Carnegie Library in 1916.
Today, the Coachman family has remained keenly interested in preserving the park’s name and keeping its open space for families. The approved plan to move the amphitheater and not split the park brought favor from Hugh Coachman, who spoke to the Clearwater City Council on June 18, 2020.
Mr. Coachman praised the plan as the “best of both worlds” bringing music to people while also emphasizing a family atmosphere by offering more green space.
“The city has to progress,” he said to the City Council.
When will construction start?
Residents and visitors to Clearwater will begin seeing the Coachman Park Redevelopment Plan begin to take shape with infrastructure construction to begin in the summer of 2020.
For what will the amphitheater be used?
Coachman Park is a well-known regional draw for national musician and acts, and will continue to be, it will also be a draw for a variety of events such as farmers markets, art festivals, and graduations.
Why is Coachman Park the first focus of Imagine Clearwater planning efforts?
Coachman Park is one of the key civic assets of the waterfront area. It has a rich history and its large-scale events have helped to define the city of Clearwater. Its redevelopment will be a catalyst for revitalization of its surrounding areas and Clearwater’s downtown.
Will parking be included in the plan?
Parking will be a key consideration of the Coachman Park Redevelopment Plan. A parking strategy will be developed that assesses the area’s parking needs in light of both existing demand and future growth.
I don’t live in downtown Clearwater. Why should I care?
The goal of the Coachman Park Redevelopment Plan is to create a space that all Clearwater residents will want to visit – whether you live downtown or in other parts of the city. By creating an active waterfront, we believe in the potential to energize activity to attract all city residents to spend time downtown with their family and friends.
Past Updates on Imagine Clearwater Design Plans:
Stantec, the city of Clearwater's consultant on Imagine Clearwater, has announced that the design plans for Imagine Clearwater are at the 30 percent stage. Below is a video that captures the design and feel of the park. Take a look and enjoy.
At this stage in the park design process, the public can expect to see a refined project schedule and scope and finalized design criteria. Spatial requirements for design elements are determined (“Will all these things fit?”), but very few specific dimensions are determined. Textures, colors, and materials are only loosely determined and may change. Feedback at the 30 percent phase is important and can be incorporated into the next phase of design plans.
The city will be sharing the 30 percent designs and the public’s feedback at a Dec. 16 session with the city council. The public will have an opportunity to see and provide feedback on the 60 percent and 90 percent design completion in 2020.
Imagine Clearwater Initial Vision and Information
The information below was published in early 2018 and gives an explanation of Imagine Clearwater in the early stages of the design. There are early renderings and designs at the 15 percent stage. The text explains the initial goals and phases of Imagine Clearwater.
To realize the community's vision for Imagine Clearwater, an implementation strategy is required. This action plan provides a series of strategic implementation recommendations to serve as a starting point for the city and its partners. The action plan consists of four parts:
- Phasing: Phasing should prioritize catalytic moves that spur redevelopment beyond the City-owned sites and should minimize interruptions to existing programming. Phase 1 seeks to implement key investments north of Cleveland Street and along the waterfront to spark change along Osceola and into downtown. Phase 2 builds upon the success north of Cleveland Street and Phase 1, bringing redevelopment south.
- Governance: Implementation of the plan and long-term maintenance and operations of the waterfront park will require the development of new organizational capacity and new public-private partnerships. Cities across the country have entered into such partnerships with one or more third-party organizations with and interest in park stewardship, such as conservancies. In Clearwater, a new nonprofit should become a partner of the City to help advocate for the park, provide philanthropic and fundraising support for capital and on-going costs, assist in operations and maintenance activities, and lead marketing and programming activities.
- Funding: Public-private coordination on a long-term funding plan will be critical to the success of the waterfront in years to come. The City of Clearwater should work to create a long-term funding strategy that leverages a diverse set of funds for park construction and maintenance. No one funding source will be a silver bullet for the park's capital costs and maintenance, but in combination, a mix of funding sources will sustain Clearwater's revitalized waterfront.
- Key Next Steps: Before construction can begin, there are a number of key moves that need to take place to move Imagine Clearwater forward:
- Establish a Conservancy: A conservancy's role will evolve over time, but in the near term, a conservancy can serve a critical advocacy and planning role in support of Imagine Clearwater.
- Build Brand: The City and its civic partners should seek a series of "quick wins" to begin altering the identity of the waterfront and attract people there through an expansion of new, engaging temporary programming throughout the site.
Review the 15% drawings provided by the consultant: 15% Drawings of Imagine Clearwater. (This is a large file. It may take several minutes for it to open.)
View the original Master Plan, please Imagine Clearwater Master Plan. (This is a large file. It may take several minutes for it to open.)
To sign up for email updates on the Downtown Waterfront Master Plan Process, please CLICK HERE
For questions or suggestions, contact Michael Delk, the assistant city manager, at (727) 562-4053 .
The waterfront must be anchored by a dynamic new open space. The waterfront should comprise of a series of distinct experiences from the water to downtown, activated by new uses and captivating elements unique to Clearwater. Clearwater deserves a revitalized and enhanced Coachman Park that serves a broad pool of users and flexibly accommodates a greater variety of activities, including passive and active recreation, to promote year-round enjoyment.
- The Civic Gateway: A grand entry gateway at the site of the existing Harborview Center will invite pedestrians into the waterfront from Cleveland Street - Downtown's 'main street'.
- The Green: Proceeding down an iconic staircase, visitors will be greeted by the sweeping Green, lined with native shade trees and anchored by a state-of-the-art new band shell that will dramatically improve the event-going experience at the park.
- Coachman Garden: Featuring a modern new playground, with play equipment designed in collaboration with local artists, Coachman Garden will be located steps from the Main Library, providing families with another reason to visit and spend time in downtown.
- The Estuary: A lush respite for visitors in search of a quiet waterfront experience a short walk from the rest of Downtown, the Estuary will also provide a safe and convenient natural experience for Clearwater's young people to enjoy and study for generations to come.
- The Bluff Walk: Tying these sets of diverse experiences together will be the park's Bluff Walk, an active linear promenade that utilizes Clearwater's unique topography, provides unparalleled views, and stitches together the waterfront and downtown.
Access to the Site Should Incorporate All Modes. Imagine Clearwater will promote access and multimodal connectivity to the waterfront to support activity and vibrancy at the park and throughout downtown. Pedestrians, cyclists, transit users, and motorists should all be able to access the site safely and conveniently, a goal that will require a thoughtful reorganization of key waterfront nodes, and is essential to growing downtown visitation.
The Plan's multi-modal access strategy considers:
- Pedestrian and Cyclist Access: Pedestrian mobility is at the foundation of park activation; connections between the waterfront and broader downtown should first prioritize non-vehicular modes of travel. Pedestrians and cyclists will access the waterfront through a series of dedicated paths that are well-lit and shaded.
- Transit Access: Diverse transit and multi-modal opportunities will help to better connect and integrate Downtown Clearwater and the waterfront, including Jolley Trolley, the Clearwater Ferry, nearby Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority routes, and connections to the Pinellas Trail.
- Vehicular Access and Parking: Although other modes of transit have been prioritized, residents and visitors of the waterfront can make use of existing parking spaces within a short walk, as well as onsite parking that will be provided for public visitors.
Coachman Park Needs an Active Edge. Successful urban parks have strong frames that attract users to the space, introduce new amenities, increase safety, and support the financial operations of the park. The bluff should incorporate uses that are new to the area and complementary to existing uses, leverage waterfront views, and maximize open space adjacencies, all as means to attracting a diverse audience downtown and to the waterfront on a regular basis.
The bluff will be activated to better frame the waterfront and connect it to downtown, all to form a unified waterfront district. The new waterfront will incorporate limited but vital private uses to ensure the long-term activation of the waterfront park and foster a vibrant pair of Downtown axes along Osceola and Cleveland. This activation will support the vibrancy of the park, as well as Cleveland Street.
The City owns three important parcels on the bluff, which should serve as catalyst sites alongside the new waterfront park: the former Harborview Center site, Main Library, and City Hall. These are priority sites because they have direct access and waterfront views, they will help to connect the waterfront to Downtown and Cleveland Street, and the City can dictate the sites' design and uses.
Former Harborview Center Site: Located at the intersection of Osceola Avenue and Cleveland Street, the Harborview Center's location was previously the focus of creating a primary, formal gateway to the waterfront. The Harborview Center has since been demolished. The city is now taking steps to solicit private redevelopment of the northern portion of the site - rental housing or a boutique hotel, with active ground floor restaurant space - to create activity in the area on a more consistent basis.
Main Library: Activation of the Main Library with an expanded series of community uses will strengthen the space's role as a center for the community and enhance the relationship between it and its surroundings - namely the park and Osceola Avenue.
City Hall: Located at one of the most valuable development sites downtown, Clearwater residents noted that they would like to see a combination of private and semi-public activating uses on the site, including residential development and a potential cultural use.
An Improved Osceola should complement Cleveland Street. The intersection of Cleveland Street and Osceola Avenue, the future gateway to the waterfront, should become the crossroads for Clearwater's downtown. Strengthening Osceola will better knit together the waterfront to downtown by unifying the district, creating a park gateway, and spurring development and activity that brings people downtown and to the waterfront.
Sites Controlled by other parties: For parcels that the City does not own, it should ensure that their uses meet the community's vision and productively contribute to downtown. Key interventions include the activation of existing ground floors at Osceola and Cleveland and the redevelopment of underutilized parcels to the north and south along Osceola.
With the Capitol Theater and new civic plaza, the City should ensure that private buildings contribute to the "100% corner", with successful activated ground floor retail, streetscaping, and a strong visual presence. This crossroads of key retail businesses and cultural institutions will become known as one of the hearts of downtown.
Underutilized Parcels along Osceola are economically-valuable sites that should contribute to the revitalization of downtown. The City should focus its initial efforts on the site north of Cleveland Street, as this area of the waterfront will be the first phase for redevelopment.
Thank you for Participating in the First and Second Rounds of the Imagine Clearwater Community Workshops
Thanks to you the 2016 meetings were a huge success. The city of Clearwater and its consultant, HR&A Advisors, received a large volume of positive and constructive feedback from the hundreds of people who attended the community workshops. The HR&A team is reviewing the suggestions and concepts you proposed to guide them in designing a master plan to help revitalize the city's Downtown Waterfront District. HR&A will be back in a few weeks to share their vision. Thank you again for your participation, input and involvement in Imagine Clearwater. Please continue to visit this site for updates and information.
If you would like to make comments or provide feedback on anything you see, please leave a comment here, or call Gina Clayton, the city of Clearwater’s Planning and Development Department director at (727) 562-4587.
September 12 & 13, 2016
August 3, 2016
June 8, 2016
Information on the project will be posted to imagineclearwater.com. For questions or suggestions, contact Gina Clayton, the city’s director of Planning and Development, at (727) 562-4587.
The role of the Imagine Clearwater Stakeholder Coalition is to:
- Act as ambassadors to the community to help drive public participation and build broader support;
- Help shape the vision for the waterfront and provide additional input throughout the master planning process;
- Assist with the public engagement strategy and help the city and master planning team implement it.
One of the main goals of the Coalition is to generate positive momentum toward a plan that is broadly supported by Clearwater's residents and voters.
February 2, 2017
Downtown Clearwater Main Library@Noon
100 N. Osceola Ave.