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City Spends $7,500 for Downtown Expert Advice

Officials approved spending $7,500 to bring in a downtown revitalization expert to conduct a luncheon on Island Estates and a workshop in January in an effort to spur development downtown.

Peter Kageyama, author of “For the Love of Cities,” has created a cottage industry touring the country talking about ways to revitalize downtowns through emotional bonds and “growing a core of committed people.”

But it’s not cheap. 

Kageyama, of St. Petersburg, typically gets $7,500 plus expenses to conduct his events, which have happened in cities including Orlando, St. Louis and St. Petersburg.

And he is bringing his downtown development show to Clearwater with a $1,500 luncheon, possibly at Island Way Grill, Jan. 23 and a workshop Jan. 30.

Officials approved spending $7,500 to bring in the expert in downtown development for the two-part event, which includes awarding two $500 grants to help promote downtown.

Kageyama will be paid $4,650, a reduced rate, for his services.

“I do believe in supporting the local community and have tried to give a discount across the state as I do work here,” Kageyama wrote in an email to city officials.

***

The Clearwater Downtown Partnership wants to bring Kayegama in for his expert advice but needed help to pay for it.

The goal of the nonprofit group, comprised of downtown developers, property owners and residents, is to promote and foster downtown revitalization. It had to ask the Community Redevelopment Agency and Downtown Development Board for assistance.

The Community Redevelopment Agency voted 4-1 to approve spending $3,750 to pay for the two-part event. Mayor George N. Cretekos was in opposition.

Cretekos asked what the contribution from the downtown group would be.

Bill Sturtevant, president of the Clearwater Downtown Partnership, said members are going door-to-door inviting participants, and those activities should be seen as in-kind expenses.

“I appreciate the in-kind contribution. But that’s their job. That’s what they’re supposed to be doing,” Cretekos said.

There is no line item on the source of funds listing the partnership’s contribution.

“It shows no in-kind expenses on (the Clearwater Downtown Partnership’s) part other than that they’re going to be inviting people,” Cretekos said. “It’s just lacking here.”

The Downtown Development Board also needed to approve money for the events. Members approved 6-1 spending $3,750 for the event with the stipulation that the luncheon venue, initially planned for Island Way Grill on Island Estates, changes. Vice-chair Dennis Bosi voted in opposition.

Anne Fogarty France, who works as a city liaison with the board, said the Clearwater Downtown Partnership will look into holding the event at a downtown restaurant. 

The luncheon would include a 45-minute presentation followed by a question and answer session. CDP officials said they plan to invite about 150 people with an expectation that 100 would show. 

Invitees should include business, educational, nonprofit and government leaders, Kageyama said. Attendees would include members of the Downtown Development Board, city council and downtown business owners. The event budget would cover the cost of food at $15 a person.

“We’ll have a very strong invite list,” Sturtevant said without naming anyone specific.

***

The location for the half-day workshop is not yet set, but officials would like it to be somewhere downtown capable of holding up to 150 people.

At the workshop, committed community members would talk about what they love about Clearwater and how to increase that emotion to others throughout the area.

“Clearwater has the unique situation where many feel like they have abdicated downtown to the Church (of Scientology),” Kageyama wrote. “A key element will be to get people to rethink the meaning of downtown for the broad community.”

The event would also feature two $500 “flash” grants. The awards are given to create a project that would make the community more lovable with a $500 budget. Participants vote on the projects, and the winner moves it forward.

Kageyama said similar events have spurred new business, encouraged nonprofits to create “micro-financing” programs and established new coalitions.

“I can assure you one of our goals is to have more events like this if it helps us accomplish our goals,” Sturtevant said.

Peter Kageyama luncheon and workshop by the numbers:

  • $4,650 - Peter Kageyama
  • $1,500 - reception at Island Way Grill
  • $1,000 - two $500, flash grants
  • $100 - audio visual rental
  • $250 - contingency
Island Way Grill does a great job but it would be a shame if a luncheon promoting downtown development could not be held downtown. What about Sage?
ReDress December 13, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Downtown will always be destitute as long as there's that creepy cult. Downtown is not welcoming. Scientologists are not welcoming. They don't want people down there and I'm wondering why the City of Clearwater keeps throwing away good money to try and develop the area.
Paola Lombardi December 13, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Martha Vasques is totally right. Island Way Grill does a great job but it would be a shame if a luncheon promoting downtown development could not be held downtown. The reception and lunch should be kept in downtown FOR downtown. Either one believes in downtown or doesn't.
Henry Kulesza December 13, 2012 at 05:25 PM
What's another few thousand dollars after spending several million to "beautify" the Cleveland Street "Road to Nowhere." When will the city get it that downtown is a wasteland, and the Scienies want to keep it that way. Most cities with great downtown areas have many historical buildings to make it interesting. The few that could have been utilized are already owned by Scientology. Take a ride through the area. It's a ghost town and it will always be a ghost town. The Scienies tend to keep the area safe but they are not friendly and do not help to create an inviting atmosphere. People may go downtown to go to the Globe Theater, the marina, the Aquarium, or the events at the park but they will not stay to shop or dine. Spend development money in areas that have potential, but not to beautify the Church of Scientology. Geez.
Ben December 13, 2012 at 06:38 PM
No need for a paid consultant to revitalize that area. The Scienies are the cause and the only way to get rid of them is with the FBI and a few from the Sheriff's office. I say let's find another area to beautify.
Marc Sterling December 13, 2012 at 10:26 PM
As long as the art and cultural hub of downtown Clearwater remains the Hess Express, it will remain Palookaville. Sparky
Downtown Clearwater Citizen December 15, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Right on!!! It is typical of the blunders involving devlopment of the downtown area of Clearwater. THEY JUST DO NOT GET IT!!
Downtown Clearwater Citizen December 15, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Right on!!! It is typical of the blunders involving devlopment of the downtown area of Clearwater. THEY JUST DO NOT GET IT!!
Downtown Clearwater Citizen December 15, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Right on!!! It is typical of the blunders involving devlopment of the downtown area of Clearwater. THEY JUST DO NOT GET IT!!
Downtown Clearwater Citizen December 15, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Right on!!! It is typical of the blunders involving devlopment of the downtown area of Clearwater. THEY JUST DO NOT GET IT!!
Downtown Clearwater Citizen December 15, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Right on!!! It is typical of the blunders involving devlopment of the downtown area of Clearwater. THEY JUST DO NOT GET IT!!
Downtown Clearwater Citizen December 15, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Right on!!! It is typical of the blunders involving devlopment of the downtown area of Clearwater. THEY JUST DO NOT GET IT!!
jeff January 23, 2013 at 03:41 PM
This is a great example of why i am leaving clearwater after living my entire 55 year life here. Take a look at downtown Dunedin, Saftey Harbor, St. Pete, Palm Harbor, even Largo!! They get it. I am done giving my tax dollars to the city of Clearwater for a downtown owned and run by scientologists who dont want true Clearwater citizens there at all. Good bye Clearwater. I used to love and was once proud to call you my home. You... city council, know i speak the truth. We the citizens get it... why dont you ?
Mark Isenberg January 23, 2013 at 05:25 PM
It is sad what has happened in Clearwater compared to Clearwater Beach but the reality is aside from the Aquarium area and the Capitol Theatre events that it will take a lot of investment to change anything and there is not enough political or economic will to do much.

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