CLEARWATER, Fla. — Clearwater voters will decide next month whether to keep a golf course or close it and develop most of the land into a light industrial park.
So what exactly does the vote means for jobs, the environment and the Landings Golf Club of Clearwater.
Golfer Mitch Mindell said he is not a fan of the proposal and would prefer to keep practicing his swing.
But Clearwater voters will decide the future of the 78 acres of city-owned property.
Answering no to the referendum would leave it for now.
But a yes vote, according to Mayor Frank Hibbard, would mean the city could lease most of it to be developed.
“We saw this property as an opportunity for a new industrial research and technology center that would create jobs and give revenue to the city,” Hibbard said.
Some 3,200 jobs could be created in the medical and technology manufacturing fields.
“Supposedly, there’s going to be so many jobs but we don’t know that,” Mindell said. “With the pandemic going on we don’t know what’s going to happen with those jobs, are they even still going to open up?
“I mean here we have a legitimate course of operation you know that’s making a lot of people happy.”
What makes retired environmental attorney, Liz Drayer happy is defending habitat.
“I think there’s other ways to diversify the tax base besides industry, which is polluting and just the paving of the vegetation is harmful to plants, water, soil, air,” she said.
Mayor Hibbard said years of environmental research has gone into this potential development.
“This was originally conceived in 2011,” he said. “Nine years ago this was put into our economic plan as a site that was an opportunity for future development, so this has not been a rush.”
Developer Harrod Properties shows more than 57 acres would make up the light industrial park. About 12 acres would be an aqua driving range and more than eight acres would be a public park.
Drayer, meanwhile, continues to say the land should be left alone.
“This is not the way to raise more money for the city,” she said.
Mayor Hibbard said the city has tried to take concerns into account and reminds the public that job creation and economic development are essential to the vibrancy of the city.
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