Welcome to Beach Walk
Text/Photos by Donna Malloy
It’s Official. Congressman C.W. Bill Young (third from left) joins City of Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard and fellow city council members in officially presenting Beach Walk to the residents and visitors of Clearwater Beach.
If the city will build it, they will come. And that’s what the city did. Five years in development and part of the city of Clearwater’s “Beach by Design” plan, Beach Walk officially opened ahead of schedule to the enjoyment of local residents and visitors alike on Saturday, July 19th.
Musicians, street entertainers on stilts and local restaurants added to the festivities of the day. City Manager Bill Horne could not “say enough thanks to all the people involved” in the development of Beach Walk. Mayor Frank Hibbard called Clearwater Beach “a special place that we call home.” Hibbard encouraged the crowd to “continue to enjoy Beach Walk for a lifetime.”
Following the ribbon cutting ceremony by local dignitaries, the crowd meandered along the winding promenade, lush with landscaping and artistic touches.
Paying close attention to every detail, the city specified
“Triada bollard lighting” to be installed along Beach Walk’s promenade. The lights face landward rather than toward the Gulf of Mexico and use 50-watt high pressure sodium light bulbs. These bollards have covers that prevent light from shining toward the beach. All this detail to protect the loggerhead turtle hatchlings and ensure that they head toward water when hatched instead of toward artificial light, which can mean death for this endangered species.
Live music from the Sundial Plaza was provided by local band “Invasion.” Invasion, according to bass/vocalist
Norris Smith, “plays 95 percent cover tunes and 5 percent their own compositions.” Blasting out Rolling Stone’s “Honkey Tonk Woman” and the Beatles’ “Back in the USSR” for their intro, it didn’t take long for the crowd to begin dancing barefoot on the pavilion’s sandy wood floor.
Invasion’s Smith, guitarist/vocalist Tom Lipp and drummer Tony Giovingo were all inspired by the Beatles in their youth. The exception is vocalist/guitarist/harmonica player Mike Chinn, who attributes Neil Young as his inspiration. Chinn, along with Norris and Giovingo, has produced his second studio album, “A Long Time Comin” which will be released this August.
Dedicated to delivering classic British rock and roll, the Invasion band continues to sing “for the fun and the love of it,” according to Norris. For future concerts, visit their website at: www.theinvasionband.com.
Fireworks completed the celebration of Beach Walk. The city’s projection of Beach Walk as a place where “bicyclists, rollerbladers and pedestrians could all have safe and convenient access and where visitors and locals can socialize, dine, play games, or simply enjoy the spectacular sun and surf” all became a reality on Saturday.
Visit www.myclearwater.com/beachcam for live views every sixty seconds of Clearwater Beach looking north on Gulfview Blvd., Pier 60 and the Clearwater City Marina.
It’s An Invasion. Local band “Invasion” celebrates the official opening of Beach Walk with their renditions of classic British Rock and Roll. On guitar: Mike Chinn (left), vocalist Norris Smith and drummer Tony Giovingo.
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