The city of Clearwater continues to support its residents and local businesses with valuable and fun opportunities in an on-going capacity. Here is a quick look at several of the programs that are designed to assist our awesome community.
- Cleveland Street Closure – this popular economic development effort, which launched May 2020, effectively closed Cleveland Street between the 400-500 blocks to vehicle traffic. The closure encourages more walkability and easier access to downtown businesses, along with increased socially distanced outdoor dining. Due to the success of the program, the Cleveland Street Closure has been extended through Jan. 14 (possibly even longer!) so that residents can shop, dine, and “keep it local” through the holidays. Supporting local small businesses has never been more critical than right now. The city of Clearwater has made it both easy and safe to do so.
- “The District” – the Cleveland Street Closure inspired the formation of The District, a Downtown Clearwater Merchant Association initiative, consisting of a group of local business owners. The District hosts a variety of socially distanced events downtown, such as:
- Wine Walk – launched in October with great success!
- World Series Outdoor Watch Party
- Monthly Outdoor Movie Nights
- Holiday Activities
- Check out the new music video featuring the city of Clearwater, produced by The District, which launched Nov. 19!
- Dine In Downtown Program – this program has now been through a successful cycle during summer 2020, providing 2500 “dine local” vouchers, worth $20 toward meal credit to locals, and has increased profits for the participating restaurants, cafes and bars.
- New Art Installations – to further encourage walkability and community engagement, four new installations are now on display along the 400 block, the 500 block, and in front of old City Hall. Check out the Arts and Culture Tour Map here.
- Clearwater Creates Compost Program – The city of Clearwater is offering residents within the city limits a free composting bin and an easy (FREE!) step-by-step course on how to compost. This is a tremendous learning opportunity for kids and adults alike. Think science projects and real-life math lessons through composting basics (all composting requires specific percentages of three basic natural ingredients.) Additionally, you’ll be taking a healthy step forward in reducing your family’s human-made greenhouse gas emissions which accelerate global warming. On top of all that, your family can feel good about helping meet the goals of the city’s Clearwater Greenprint plan toward greenhouse gas reduction.
- Downtown Clearwater Mural Program – The city of Clearwater’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), in partnership with the Clearwater Public Art and Design Program, sought artists to design and paint a series of murals on public and private properties throughout Downtown Clearwater. Applications were due in September, so you will soon see new murals popping up in the downtown district. The mural program aims to enliven public spaces and highlight downtown’s emerging arts scene
- Rent, Mortgage and Utility Assistance – this program is open to the city of Clearwater residents hit hardest by the pandemic, who are behind in their rent, mortgage or utility payments. This program is currently open for applications through Dec. 4. Click here for eligibility details and to apply for up to $5,000 of relief funds.
- Clearwater Back To Business Grant – local businesses that previously applied for and were granted eligibility for this grant program have until Dec. 31, 2020 to use the additional $1,000 grant. The grant can be applied toward professional services to assist their businesses from approved vendors in areas such as marketing, business consulting, accounting, legal, and more.
- Business Resources from SPARK Partner Programs: Clearwater Business SPARK is a network of service providers dedicated to small business development, entrepreneurship and innovation.
- AMPLIFY Chalktober Fest– AMPLIFY Clearwater, formerly the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce, debuted Chalktober Fest through the month of October, bringing art and local businesses together. Each participating business was partnered with a local or visiting artist who chalked a masterpiece in front of their establishment, which brought more foot traffic and awareness to the downtown businesses.
- SCORE Services – SCORE is the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, with local branches across the US. Check out the many free resources that they provide to local business owners here.
- FSMSDC Weekly Virtual Business Hour — Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council gives assistance in real time, through this dedicated platform to help local businesses get direct and immediate assistance from the FSMSDC team through video conference. The Virtual Business Hour is held on Thursdays from 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM.- Click here to register.
- Pinellas SBDC Online Workshops –– The Small Business Development Center offers a calendar of events for startups (0-3 years) and for growing businesses (3+ years) with workshops on topics like starting a business, developing a business plan, learning QuickBooks, applying for government contracts, and more.
- St.Pete College offered short-term training classes for FREE May – June. (This event is currently closed.)
These are just a handful of the helpful resources and unique events that make the city of Clearwater Awesome!
By Jodi McLean