Safety Harbor Waterfront Takes Priority at Goal Setting Session
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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
An interactive water feature would be a great addition to our city, and I think replacing the fountain would provide a great location for residents and visitors alike. It’s right beside the trail, which would be an easy stop for those exercising or just hot from a walk or bike ride, and there’s already some plumbing there.
I don’t dislike the fountain, but if I’m going to sit and relax somewhere in that general area, then I’d personally rather walk a little further and go to the bay to watch real birds rather than statues of birds.
If we love the fountain so much, couldn’t we just relocate it anyway? Great ideas Andy and Commissioners!
The fountain at the the front of the marina is beautiful. Why would you want to replace it? That just seems like a waste of money.
If you want to install a splash pad or some interactive water feature, why not do it in the Waterfront Park? You have that whole area to create a destination attraction for residents and visitors. Seems pretty silly to get rid of a great existing fountain when you have a whole park that can be designed for new features.
I thought all of this had already been decided and put into the master plan for the waterfront park:
Paul, these suggestions, including the interactive fountain, are not part of the waterfront park project. They were put forth at the goal setting session as suggestions for ways to potentially improve the community in the future. Look for a complete update on the status of the WFP project very shortly here on Safety Harbor Connect, and thanks for the comment!
Jeff, thanks for your reply. Just to further clarify, it sounds like some of the suggestions are related to or a part of the waterfront park. Your article says, “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.” But a splash pad is already a part of the waterfront park plans. So are commissioners thinking about building a second one less than 500 feet away? Or are they thinking about changing the waterfront park master plan?
The article also reports Zodrow saying, “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,” But the Waterfront Park master plan already includes moving the existing parking by the end of the pier and adding more parking in the waterfront park. So, I’m left wondering if he is not familiar with the plan or is intending to push for changes to the plan.
I think it’s great that the commission wants to make the marina/waterfront area a destination. But it seems like the best way to do that is to embrace and implement the existing waterfront plan. Anyone else agree?
You should consider the plan you are referring to as more of a wish list. That plan is extraordinarily expensive and would take years to afford, get permits and build. It would be awesome if it could be done but the wheels of government move slowly and I’m certain a higher tax burden to afford all the tidbits in the plan would be a no go for at least half of us.
Of course it’s expensive and would take years to afford, get permits and build. That’s why there’s a multi-phase plan. If it were just a wish list, then it would just be a list, not planned out in detail.
What I meant is it’s just that, a wish list. Subject to amendment for budgetary, among other considerations. Giving a citizens committee, with little input from the people who have to find ways to pay for the plan, the go ahead to plan the park without those considerations was a great starting point to create a wishlist. It was awesome during to election to hear people demanding this plan be started in March and finished by September without realizing how something like the permitting process could hold it up even more than budgeting. Now I hope those folks pay attention.
The Mayor is spot on! How great would it be to have an interactive fountain and other features, not only for our residents to enjoy but to pull in visitors to our great city! I jog the exercise trail on bayshore 3-4 times a week and a fountain to run through and cool off would be perfect, as well as attractive!
Build us a launch for paddleboards, kayaks, sunfish and prams! And it is defiantly okay to take your time! A small boat drop off point could be installed on either side of the pier. Actually to the right of the pier might be better. A wash down or outside shower would be excellent. Call it a interactive fountain if you like. As the bay gets cleaner more and more boats will come. Trailer parking would help. Keep as much grass as possible!
I think Mayor Steingold is on the right track. We do need to think long-term about how to turn Safety Harbor into more of a destination spot and building the waterfront park should be done so with that in mind. I think an interactive fountain is a neat idea, but before I say “yay” or “nay” to the idea I’d like to see a plan for the entire park. Does the council have at least a basic plan for the park? What are the “must have” features of the park?
I think something like a splash pad, interactive fountain, or community pool is long overdue. Dunedin, Largo, Clearwater, Oldsmar, etc. all have community features like that, leaving us far behind.
I just want to see a water feature that we can actually use and enjoy. It is insane to me that we live in a city surrounded by water with no place to actually play in water. We have no city pool, no city splash pad, no actual beach.