CLEARWATER - Steve Weeden, a partner at Vaughn Weeden Creative, Inc., Albuquerque, New Mexico, told attendees at the May 31 Cleveland Street Streetscape stakeholder meeting he's confident downtown Clearwater will become a regional attraction.
Vaughn Weeden Creative are advertising and branding specialists hired by the Clearwater Downtown Partnership as a private sector initiative.
Their previous clients include the Albuquerque Isotopes, Citibank and Motorola.
Weeden predicted Clearwater would become a destination place in Tampa Bay after the project's completion.
"I don't know if you all realize what a gem you have with this downtown core," he said citing that Clearwater already has some necessary elements in place such as busy foot traffic, established businesses and noteworthy architecture.
Weeden said he was particularly impressed with the post office, Ft Harrison Hotel and other older buildings.
"It doesn't take much stretch of the imagination to see how Clearwater will look a year and a half from now," he said. "Your downtown already has feet on the street. Starbucks had non stop business and they said it's been down lately," said Weeden.
Weeden encouraged business owners to focus on the project's end results rather than on the inconveniences and negative aspects construction will bring.
"The return of the investment should pay off in multiples. I'm really excited for you," he said. "When you invest in downtown, you invest in the whole city. The opportunity is right in front of you."
June 12 marks the start date for the $8.9 million overhaul of Cleveland Street from Osceola to Myrtle. City planners say the project will take eighteen months to complete. Streetscape plans include: landscaped sidewalks; medians with areas available for public art; new benches; trashcans; bike racks and decorative street lighting.
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