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Tuesday, Sep 02, 2014

Dunedin eyeing options for its waterfront


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DUNEDIN — Residents would like to see a sailing center, more boat and kayak launches and additions to waterfront parklands along Dunedin’s 37 miles of shoreline.

Those are among the key recommendations in a draft report completed this week by the Dunedin Waterfront Taskforce, a group that’s met monthly over the past year to generate ideas for getting more people out on the water.

Some of the suggestions dovetail with a long-term master plan the city has already adopted for connecting the downtown marina on the Intracoastal Waterway to the heart of the nearby Main Street business district.

The city recently completed a brick pedestrian promenade from the marina into downtown and is in the process of replacing a sea wall and putting in floating transient boat docks to accommodate day-trippers.

The task force early next year will present the City Commission with a broad set of recommendations that extend beyond the downtown core to several city-owned parks, the beaches along the Dunedin Causeway and two state parks, Caladesi and Honeymoon islands.

“We wanted to take a good hard look at what the entire county is considering, what all of Tampa Bay is working on and then look at our waterfront,” said John Tornga, who heads up the task force, along with Kim Beaty and Diana Carsey.

One of these issues is accommodating more boat visitors who may wish to stop in at one of the many Gulf Coast cities that front the water for a few days or a week.

St. Petersburg is among five places across the state taking part in a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission pilot program looking at options for regulating boats that anchor offshore beyond the marked boundaries of public mooring fields.

With limited transient boat docks at the Dunedin marina, a mooring field might be an option for touring boaters, Tornga said.

There’s a lot of demand for water access from both visitors and residents traveling by motorized boats, kayaks and other craft, and the city is actively looking for ways to create places to dock and launch, said Vince Gizzi, Dunedin’s economic development director.

“We have a good problem in that we have a lot of active groups that use the waterfront, but we’re running out of space to accommodate them all,” he said.

Prominent among those groups are youth and adult sailing clubs. The task force envisions the eventual creation of a sailing center, which could be a good fit along the causeway that runs along the waters of St. Joseph Sound.

“We’ve got great sailing waters through here,” Tornga said.

jboatwright@tampatrib.com

(727) 215-1277

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