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Parking Stalls Officials On Marina Waterfront Plan

Dunedin officials stuck on balancing parking and green space in the peninsula area.

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.

Bill Storck September 20, 2011 at 11:19 AM
Rather than automobile space, why not develop a parking area for golf carts, motor scooters, motor cycles and bicycles. Smaller space needed and more practical. In addition, this would encourage increased usage of these energy saving vehicles.
Sunny Flower September 20, 2011 at 03:46 PM
I am very displeased at the proposed idea of making this area parking spaces. But I suppose the city will do with it whatever they like. I'm sure there are enough idiots to vote this into reality.
Monty Seidler September 20, 2011 at 06:42 PM
IMHO, I think the present parking areas east of Broadway off Main enable pedestrians to walk west past local and projected new businesses on their way to the Marina. I don't really want to look at more parking on the Marina. There are some of the "18" recommendations that have serious merit. Others are debatable. Opportunities for new business and safe pedestrian crossings sound good. I guess I will have to attend more "city meetings" provided there is reasonable time for citizens to ask questions. After all, I do get a monthly bill from the City. :)

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