Imagine Clearwater groundbreaking postponed due to rising construction costs

Pinellas County

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) — Imagine Clearwater is the vision for the city’s future, but that vision is getting blurry.

The long-waited groundbreaking for the $64 million construction project has been postponed for now due to high construction costs.

The project is expected to transform downtown Clearwater by making upgrades to Coachman Park, including a 4,000-seat covered amphitheater and recreational spaces with walkways that connect the park to downtown and the intracoastal waterway, and an ocean-themed water play area.

But city officials tell 8 On Your Side that rising costs of commodities forced them to postpone the ceremonial groundbreaking. Officials said the decision to postpone the event was made by the mayor and the city council during Thursday’s meeting.

A markup in lumber, steel and oil is causing concern. The pandemic has caused supply shortages — there’s been increased demand, and now rising fuel prices have changed the budget for the project.

“That [producer price] index has existed for 35 years and this has been the highest increase ever from April of last year to April of this year,” said Ken Simonson with the Associated General Contractors of America.

While the ceremony with the often golden shovels is postponed, the underground and utility work at Coachman Park which has already started will continue.

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