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New Year's Eve 2017 Clearwater Beach, FL

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Welcome to Light It Up Clearwater!  Clearwater Beach's Annual Fireworks Celebration.

Come join us on New Year's Eve, grab a bite to eat, relax with your toes in the sand, watch one of our world famous sunsets and then ring in the New Year with Fireworks at midnight, compliments of the Beach Chamber of Commerce and our wonderful sponsors.

Don't expect much bubbly to flow on the sugary beaches of Clearwater Beach. On New Year's Eve, like most other nights, locals and visitors alike stroll over to Pier 60 on the Gulf of Mexico shoreline to admire the sunset, listen to live music, shop for crafts and watch fire-throwers perform daring feats. The free nightly Sunsets at Pier 60 Festival takes place from 4 to 8 p.m., after which most families head over to Frenchy's Original. In the past 45 years, the Quebec, Canada, expat known as "Frenchy" has opened five very popular seafood cafes. Kids love the beer-battered grouper, garlic fries sprinkled with crabmeat and key lime pie; a special menu will be available on New Year's Eve. If the gang is still awake afterward, lay your blanket out on the beach to wait for Light It Up Clearwater, the annual fireworks spectacle amplified by reflections from the calm Gulf waters.

For more information, please visit www.lightitupclearwater.com

Beach Views and Bonus Room

by Tom Smith Team

  

Make this your beach house…where your time can be filled with relaxing sunsets, cool drinks & sand between your toes. Stunning ocean view, vibrant summer sunsets & year round sunrises are accented by sugary white sands, sparkling aquamarine water. This unique 2 bed/2bath floor plan features a large picture window in the living/dining area enhancing the beach and water views. All areas have been updated including the extra den/office with bookcases & desk. Summer afternoons and twinkling night lights can be enjoyed from the extra-large balcony which is easily accessed from the living area and both bedrooms. The newer kitchen has a large open bar for ease in entertaining & enjoyment in addition eat-in area. South Beach IV is excellently maintained with on site management, a large pool area with Tiki Hut cabana for entertaining and smaller tiki’s for individual enjoyment. This exclusive Sand Key location has quick access to the Tampa airport and area dining, cultural events, shopping with convenience to St. Petersburg and other central Florida attractions. Start enjoying the beach lifestyle today. Visit the Virtual Tour https://www.tourvista.com/21748

Five Headache-Free Holiday Hosting Tips

by Tom Smith Team

There's a reason the holidays are called the most wonderful time of the year. It's an opportunity to reconnect with loved ones over delicious food and shared traditions. But playing hostess can sometimes feel more like a burden rather than a blessing. This year, keep your holiday gathering fun, not frantic, with these headache-free holiday hosting tips.

Put time on your side.
Start your dinner prep as soon as possible to make room for any last-minute surprises, like forgetting an ingredient or unexpected guests. Developing a checklist and assigning manageable to-do's each day will help prevent you from feeling overwhelmed. For example, once the invitations have been extended, plan the menu, and gather recipes and a grocery list. Take inventory of your cooking supplies, serving dishes and tableware. While cleaning the house, identify what decorations are needed.

Know when to buy, when to DIY and when to ask for help.
From appetizers to desserts, determine what on the menu can be homemade, made ahead of time or store-bought and how guests can contribute. Figure out what is actually feasible for your meal―it's OK if you can't make everything from scratch. If you've never made homemade pie, there is no reason to put your culinary skills to the test the night before. If budget allows, buy prepared dishes or desserts from the market and place on festive platters. Find do-ahead recipes that can be stored in the fridge until they are ready to be served. By prioritizing your menu and asking for help, it will alleviate unnecessary stress and allow you to enjoy the event.

Use disposable tableware.
Instead of standing over the sink cleaning, spend the extra time celebrating with family and friends. Try using eco-friendly products, such as Chinet® plates and bowls that are made from recycled material and biodegradable in home composting―leaving you to only feel guilty about that second helping of green bean casserole.

Set the scene the night before.
Focus on setting the table, deciding where to put the drinks, and gathering extra seating and decorating the night before. That way the day of the party, you just have to worry about putting out the food and drinks. While last minute rearranging is bound to happen, conquering the planned details ahead of time will help keep you sane.

Deck the dinner table with a napkin fold.
For a sophisticated, yet deceptively easy place setting idea, consider using a perfectly coordinated line of disposable tableware and add a napkin fold as a pretty and practical accent. Although some napkin folds can be intricate, try a unique design such as a poinsettia that can be made in a matter of minutes. Include complementary greenery or pine cones for a festive touch.

For more holiday entertaining tips, décor ideas and recipes, visit www.mychinet.com.

Consultants unveil plan for transformed Clearwater waterfront

by Tracey McManus

CLEARWATER — A downtown waterfront transformed into a greener space with a garden, marsh pond and picnic areas. Trails for biking or strolling with views of the Intracoastal Waterway. A gathering space surrounded by cafes, retail and a splash pad to replace the Harborview Center eyesore currently taking up prime space in the heart of downtown.

That's the vision a team of consultants have designed to revitalize Clearwater's struggling downtown after more than six months of meetings and study. They unveiled the plan publicly at a work session Tuesday, but City Council members were reluctant to give their final verdicts until they hear from residents at two more workshops this week.

Mayor George Cretekos did say the draft plan is a solid framework for what the city has been trying for decades to achieve.

"This has been a struggle for us over the last several years, but I think once we can get a buy-in from the community, once we can get people living in the downtown area … I think everything else will fall into place," Cretekos said.

The revitalization plan, labeled Imagine Clearwater, is the latest in a series of attempts over the past two decades to bring the city's retail, restaurant and event space on par with those of St. Petersburg and Tampa. HR & A Advisors partner Cary Hirschstein said that with the national trend toward urban core revitalizations, the timing and public buy-in could make this proposal different from the rest.

"In the past, the plans have been about a vision but less about how it's going to get accomplished in the economics and the politics," Hirschstein said. "What we're trying to offer is not just a plan but a larger strategy that sort of lays out groundwork for a lot of different actions both public and private."

When asked if the Church of Scientology's significant property ownership downtown posed any challenges to development, Hirschstein said: "It's our sincere hope the plan we're presenting is something everybody can embrace."

The first phase of Imagine Clearwater calls for removal of much of the surface parking along the waterfront to create a greener, more walkable space.

Coachman Park, which hosts concerts throughout the year, would be transformed into more of a "natural strolling garden" with a playground, said Sasaki Associates urban designer Martin Zogran.

Large activities would be moved adjacent to Coachman Park to a new area called "The Green," which would also have a picnic grove and a promenade for events like the Pierce Street Market.

A cove under the Memorial Causeway would have a marsh garden and link paths for biking and walking to the slope of the bluff and the Cleveland Street district.

A central feature of the plan is to put a water pad and pavilion in the space where the city-owned Harborview Center now sits. This gateway linking downtown to the bluff and waterfront should be surrounded by cafes, restaurants and retail, even a hotel or housing, consultants said.

The Main Library would accommodate more public uses, like a cafe and rooftop event space. And following the city's plan to relocate City Hall, which now sits on a prime water-view lot on Osceola Avenue, consultants recommend the city lure rental or condo housing.

"A lot of the future of what you wish to do with your downtown is dictated by the use of these sites," Hirschstein said. "The desire of the community to see more activity downtown, to have more restaurants and more vital business, is really dependent on having more people living downtown."

The city could seek proposals for developers to build on city-owned land, but encouraging vibrant uses of space the city does not control, in underutilized parcels along Osceola and north of Cleveland Street, will be more challenging.

For privately owned areas, the consultants recommend building incentives and advertising the plan to raise excitement in the business community.

City Council member Doreen Caudell said working with businesses and investors will be essential in bringing this plan to life.

"You're not going to be able to get what you're looking at even close to being a product without having a public/private partnership," she said.

Cretekos said that once a final plan is approved in December, the city will look at financing options.

Although the consultants did not provide a cost estimate, Hirschstein said more details about financing will be included in the final plan.

The final proposal will also include suggested locations to accommodate aerial transit infrastructure. Consultants were provided with data on a gondola cable car pitched this year by St. Petersburg developer Darryl LeClair and a magnetic levitation system proposed by Tom Nocera, a local advocate for SkyTran.

In the meantime, City Council members said they want the final proposal to include input from the community. Some waterfront redevelopment will require a referendum because of city charter restrictions, but Vice Mayor Bill Jonson said that just reinforces the importance of public buy-in.

"Everybody needs to start wrapping their arms around it,'' Caudell said. "It's time."

Contact Tracey McManus at tmcmanus@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4151. Follow @TroMcManus.

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Tom Smith Team
Coastal Properties Group International
423 Mandalay Ave., #102
Clearwater Beach FL 33767
(727) 776-3375