Safety Harbor Waterfront Takes Priority at Goal Setting Session

The fountain at the entrance to the Safety Harbor Marina.

The fountain at the entrance to the Safety Harbor Marina.

The Safety Harbor City Commission met Monday evening for its biennial goal setting session, during which a number of suggestions to improve the City were discussed.

Issues such as the budget, downtown parking, relocating the community garden and increasing benefits for city employees were all addressed.

But amid the all talk about budgets and bonuses, it was the future of Safety Harbor’s waterfront area that received the most attention on Monday.

First, Vice-Mayor Andy Zodrow said he would like to see the parking spaces near the pier relocated to another area during the construction of the Waterfront Park, which would provide a continuous greenspace while cleaning up that end of the marina.

Vice Mayor Andy Zodrow

Vice Mayor Andy Zodrow (File photo).

“I’m pretty resistant to just putting parking in the new waterfront park, but what I would like to see done is take the existing parking by the end of the pier and reconfigure that back behind the bathrooms,” Zodrow said.

“That way you would attach a greenspace all along the waterfront from Veteran’s Park to the Waterfront Park. I think that would be a lot nicer, because the end of that park isn’t, aesthetically, very nice.”

City Manager Matt Spoor concurred, saying the idea had been floated when the WFP was being designed.

“We like that idea a lot,” Spoor said. “We just need the money.”

The commissioners then discussed the pros and cons of having a splash pad at the park, an aspect of the facility that dates back to the original project concepts.

After Commissioner Carlos Diaz suggested the city install something different, such as a fountain, in the park, Mayor Andy Steingold took the idea one step further — installing an interactive fountain at the entrance to the marina.

Mayor Andy Steingold suggested the fountain at the entrance to the marina  be replaced by an interactive fountain.

Mayor Andy Steingold suggested the fountain at the entrance to the marina be replaced by an interactive fountain.

“We’ve got to start to envision that particular area as a destination stop,” the mayor said, noting the City’s connection to the new nine-mile Courtney Campbell Trail via the Bayshore Boulevard Linear Trail. “So you’ve got to say, what about that area can we use to draw people?”

“We have a fountain out there. It’s a beautiful fountain,” he continued. “But are people going to ride a bike all the way over from Tampa to sit around and look at a fountain? I don’t think so.”

Mayor Steingold went on to say he recently saw the interactive fountain at Tampa’s Curtis Hixon Park, and he noticed how popular the attraction was.

He said that he believes a similar feature at the entrance to the waterfront would help make the area more of a destination spot than a splash pad or a restaurant would.

“I seriously think that we need an interactive fountain, and that would be the place for it,” he said. “We’re trying to become a destination as people bike across the Courtney Campbell…and this helps us to become a destination.”

The mayor’s suggestion was met with some of the same concerns related to the splash pad, namely cost and sanitation concerns.

“We could just build a spray tunnel, it would be a lot cheaper,” Commissioner Janet Hooper said.

“I get the concept, but anything that captures water has to have that water filtered or treated,” Commissioner Cliff Merz added.

Mayor Andy Steingold

Mayor Andy Steingold

“And then there’s issues of eColi and there’s costs associated with that. I think any follow-up discussions need to have an evaluation of costs and what the maintenance would be.”

Spoor said he would research some plans and estimates and bring his findings back to the commission at a future meeting.

After the workshop, Mayor Steingold reiterated his desire to see a big draw feature at the marina.

“We’ve got to start thinking long-term about how to turn Safety Harbor into more of a destination spot,” he told Safety Harbor Connect. “We’ve got to look down the road.”

“I believe by putting an interactive fountain in an area that connects Philippe Park to Clearwater to Tampa, we would be adding a feature that could help make Safety Harbor a destination spot for many years to come.”

Harborites, what are your thoughts about adding an interactive fountain at the Safety Harbor Marina? Let us know in the comments below.

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