East Gateway District
...on the path to revitalization!
ABOUT THE EAST GATEWAY
The East Gateway District is a downtown neighborhood and designated redevelopment area of the City of Clearwater. As the main entryway to Clearwater's primary destination areas - downtown, Cleveland Street District and Clearwater Beach - the East Gateway District is strategically positioned to capitalize on the successes of its neighbors.
Recognizing the area's needs and potential, the Clearwater Community Redevelopment Agency added the 176-acre East Gateway District to the redevelopment area in 2004. The Clearwater Downtown Redevelopment Plan was amended to establish a vision for the East Gateway District, strategies to resolve neighborhood needs and policies to guide future redevelopment. The East Gateway District Five-Year Action Program (FY 07/08 - 11/12) was approved in 2008, setting forth a series of implementation steps to help restore vitality and livability to the area. Part of the Action Program involves in-depth examination of the area's physical and economic opportunities and challenges. Planning, regulatory, and economic strategies coupled with strategic partnerships will be used to address neighborhood issues and capitalize on existing assets. The Program's approach is to address complex issues from many different angles by employing technical expertise in public policy, public health and safety, planning, engineering, communications and neighborhood relations.
The Clearwater Downtown Redevelopment Plan describes the vision for the East Gateway Character District as:
"...a vibrant, stable, diverse neighborhood defined by its unique cultural base and mixed land uses. It will continue to be developed as a low and medium density residential neighborhood supported with neighborhood commercial and professional offices concentrated along the major corridors of Cleveland Street, Gulf to Bay Boulevard, Court Street and Missouri Avenue. The areas northeast of Gulf to Bay Boulevard and north of Cleveland Street, and east of Hillcrest Avenue should be maintained as a primarily low density, low-rise residential neighborhood. The areas southwest of Gulf to Bay Boulevard, south of Cleveland Street, and north of Cleveland Street west of Hillcrest Avenue are appropriate for medium- and high-density multi-family residential. Institutional uses should remain primarily south of Cleveland Street."
In response to a recommendation from the East Gateway Stakeholder Advisory Group, the CRA hired a consultant to develop a comprehensive and collaborative neighborhood vision plan that is currently underway. For more information (scope of work, timeline, charrette process, etc), please visit the Vision Plan Web page.
DEMOLITION OF THE ECONOMY INN
On December 8, 2010, the Clearwater CRA purchased the former Economy Inn Motel along with several adjacent properties. The assemblage represents a strategic 2.2-acre redevelopment opportunity at a central location in the East Gateway.
On April 28, 2011, the city began demolition of the structure to help revitalize the neighborhood and prepare the property for future redevelopment. Photos of the demolition are now available online.
The East Gateway District Task Force is a team of City staff from various departments responsible for implementing the Five-Year Action Program. The Task Force meets regularly to report progress, share information and ideas, and collaborate on solutions to neighborhood issues. The April 2009 Progress Report identifies the accomplishments and progress of the City and the East Gateway community in achieving the neighborhood's revitalization goals. In the following, a summary of current Task Force efforts is provided:
Facade & Building Lot Improvement Program
Because strong commercial districts have a stabilizing influence on neighborhoods, the Clearwater Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) established the East Gateway District Façade & Building Lot Improvement Program. The purpose of the program is to assist East Gateway District commercial property owners in improving the appearance of building exteriors and building sites that are highly visible from major streets. The program's primary goal is to stimulate further investment in the district by transforming the look and feel of commercial corridors.
Up to $35,000 in "loan-to-grant" funds are available to a property owner that contributes private funds equal to or greater than 20% of the established loan amount. Funding for improvement projects will be allocated to eligible commercial property owners on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are depleted.
Many streets in this part of downtown do not have sidewalks - basic infrastructure for a walkable neighborhood. Priorities for new sidewalk projects were set by the East Gateway Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) and the Business & Neighbors Association (BNA). By September 2010 the City completed work on Pierce St (San Remo to Highland); Jefferson Ave (Cleveland to Drew); Franklin St (Bridge to Gulf to Bay); Laura St (Highland to Hillcrest); and Grove St (Highland to Hillcrest).
New sidewalks will be constructed on both sides of De Leon Street (from S. Hillcrest Avenue to San Remo Ave). Construction will begin in January 2011 and is expected to be completed by April 2011. Additionally, new sidewalks will be constructed in other areas of the East Gateway District in 2011 after receiving community input.
A primary goal of the East Gateway Five-Year Action Plan is to meaningfully involve residents, businesses and others in the neighborhood revitalization process. By doing so, the City can be more informed and responsive to the needs, values and preferences of people that reside, work, serve and invest in the neighborhood. To get the word out about the Action Program and to invite greater public participation by the neighborhood's Hispanic community, the East Gateway Task Force held an ice cream social and celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month on September 27, 2009. During the event, members of the Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) and the Business and Neighbors Association (BNA) distributed neighborhood information and discussed East Gateway needs and efforts. There were fun kids activities too! Thanks to our East Gateway businesses La Feria del Sabor for the wonderful Mexican ice cream and Piñatas Arcoiris for the delightful piñata.
Neighborhood Creates Mural Arts District to Stimulate Economic Turnaround - View photos
Gulf to Bay/Highland Intersection Improvements
The goal for this project is to create an inviting entryway to the East Gateway district and the downtown area, as well as to address safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. Decorative entryway features - including a landscaped median with obelisk and street trees, neighborhood identity markers, public art and colorized crosswalks - will be constructed at the intersection of Gulf to Bay Blvd., Court St. (SR 60) and Highland Ave. Safety features will include crosswalks at all five legs of the intersection, a right turn lane modification with directional signage on westbound Gulf to Bay at Highland Ave and mast arm supported traffic signals. The estimated project cost is $1 million, funded through Penny for Pinellas.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT & PARTNERSHIPS
Because change is inherent to the revitalization process, meaningful community involvement is critical to successful implementation of the Five-Year Action Program. Opportunities for community input and participation will be on-going during the five-year program period, including bi-monthly meetings of the East Gateway Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) and monthly meetings of the East Gateway Business & Neighbors Association (BNA). The BNA meets at 6:00 pm on the second Tuesday of each month. Contact email@example.com to learn about the upcoming meeting location and agenda. All meetings are open to the public and you are encouraged to attend and participate.
East Gateway Stakeholder Advisory Group
- 05/24/12 Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting Agenda and Summary
- 04/26/12 Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting Agenda and Summary
- 03/22/12 Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting Agenda and Summary
- 02/23/12 Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting Agenda and Summary
- 01/19/12 Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting Agenda and Summary
- 12/08/11 Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting Agenda and Summary
- 06/21/11 Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting Agenda and Summary
- 02/15/11 Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting Agenda and Summary
- 01/18/11 Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting Agenda and Summary
- 12/07/10 Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting Agenda and Summary
- 11/18/10 Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting Agenda and Summary
- 10/20/10 Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting Agenda and Summary
- 09/16/10 Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting Agenda and Summary
- 08/12/10 Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting Agenda and Summary
- 06/10/10 Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting Agenda and Summary
- 05/13/10 Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting Agenda and Summary
- 04/08/10 Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting Agenda and Summary
- 02/11/10 Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting Agenda and Summary
- 01/14/10 Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting Agenda and Summary