Officials are hungup on how parking fits into downtown's marina waterfront future.
Overall, the plan is meant to make the Dunedin's marina waterfront appear more “connected” to the downtown business area.
“If you look down there now, there’s nothing really that attracts you to that waterfront. … It kinda comes across as a dead zone,” Dave Gildersleeve, civil engineering consultant from Wade Trim, said during a presentation to city commissioners on Sept 15.
Gildersleeve presented commissioners with based on studies and surveys with community members. The city hired Wade Trim last year to help develop the plan.
The most important of the proposed $1.8 million (estimated) changes, Gildersleeve said, is constructing a Main Street pedestrian promenade, which would run from west on Main Street between Broadway and Victoria Drive.
“That improvement is very, very critical to the visual connectivity and functional connectivity between the two areas,” Gildersleeve said.
Another big recommendation was to expand , thus adding "green space," into the current parking lot and revamping the peninsula area. This would reduce “pull-up” parking at the waterfront. Gildersleeve also recommended a planned, multi-level, mixed-use building, likely at the vacant lot at 200 Main Street, to help replace and build upon peninsula spaces.
Commissioner Julie Ward Bujalski expressed concern about losing parking space in the waterfront area because primarily boat owners use it.
“We just spent this money because we need parking (at the marina), now we’re taking some parking away from the peninsula," she said "You’re taking their parking and putting it a lot farther away. ... I’m just concerned about undoing all this money we just spent.”
City Manager Rob DiSpirito assuaged part of her concern. "The cost to put that parking lot (at Edgewater Park) was only a very small part of that $700,000," he said. The planners' intention, he said, was not to reduce net parking spaces. Part of the feedback they sought from the commission, he said, was whether it considered the 200 Main Street property too far away from the marina to be viable as an alternate parking option.
Commissioner Julie Scales said it was about "achieving a balance."
“I think that the overall ambiance is what people are going to remember,” Scales said, “not if there was 22 parking spaces instead of 25.”
City officials ultimately OK’d the preliminary concepts and sent them for the Community Redevelopment Agency to flesh out.
The Community Redevelopment Agency is working to incorporate the plan into its overall 20-year downtown master plan. The plan would ultimately need to be approved by the city commission, then the county.