Relocation, Economic Development Information and Demographics

Capitol: Tallahassee
State Motto: In God We Trust
State Bird: Mockingbird
Nickname: Sunshine State
State Flower: Orange Blossom

GENERAL INFORMATION

RELATING TO THE CITY OF CLEARWATER, FLORIDA

Location

The City of Clearwater (the "City"), the county seat of Pinellas County (the fifth most populous county in Florida), is geographically located in the middle of the west coast of Florida on the Gulf of Mexico. It is situated approximately 20 miles west of Tampa and 20 miles north of St. Petersburg. Standing on the highest coastal elevation of the State, the City limits comprise approximately 25.5 square miles of land and 8.6 square miles of waterways and lakes.

Clearwater Beach, an island, and a corporate part of the City, is a beach community connected to the mainland by Memorial Causeway, a four-lane, toll-free drive stretching almost two miles across the Intracoastal Waterway. Business on Clearwater Beach is mainly tourist oriented, with hotels, motels and gift shops. Many fine homes, apartments and condominiums offer pleasant, semi-tropical island accommodations to permanent residents and winter and summer visitors.

History

The area now known as Clearwater was first explored in 1528 by Panfile de Narvaez, a Spanish explorer who encountered a large tribe of Indians, which his army drove out. The Indians recaptured their territory and held it until the Seminole Wars of 1835-42. The Indians who inhabited this area are said to have called it "Pocotopaug," meaning "clear water," for the many springs of clear, fresh water that bubbled along the shore and even below the waterline at low tide.

Settlers began moving into the area around the time of the Seminole Wars. After the wars ended, the territory was opened by the Federal government for homesteading under the Armed Occupation Act. The first land title was granted in 1842. The early settlement, named "Clear Water Harbor," was incorporated in 1897. "Clear Water" later became one word and "Harbor" was dropped in 1906 when Pinellas County was created by an act of the State Legislature. In May 1911, Clearwater became the County Seat and Clearwater was chartered as a municipality on May 27,1915.

Government and Administration

Clearwater has a council-city manager form of government. Four council members and a mayor are elected at large to serve overlapping three-year terms. They appoint the city manager and the city attorney. All other administrative and professional positions are appointed by the city manager in accordance with the City's Civil Service System.

The City has approximately 1,894 employees, covered by the City's Civil Service law relating to recruitment, promotion, evaluation and discipline based on merit principles. Four employee unions represent the City's civil labor force: two units of the Fraternal Order of Police; two of the International Association of Fire Fighters; and one from the Communications Workers of America.

Transportation

Pinellas County and Clearwater are served by three major causeways and bridges
over Tampa Bay, by U.S. 19 and I-275 to the north and south, by I-4 and U.S. 60 to the
east State Roads 590 and 686 also afford access to the City.

Tampa International Airport, located approximately seventeen miles from
downtown Clearwater, provides air travel access with approximately 260 national and
international flights daily. Limousine and taxi service to and from the airport is available
from Clearwater and throughout Pinellas County. St. Petersburg/Clearwater International
Airport, approximately ten miles from downtown Clearwater, offers regularly scheduled
passenger service and charter and special group flights, on a more limited basis to both
domestic and foreign destinations, particularly to Canada, Mexico, and Central and South
America. The Executive Airpark, which is slightly over a mile from the downtown
business section, provides service and maintenance for private plane owners. The airport
has one 3,000 foot hard-surface runway and facilities for visiting and locally based planes.

The Port of Tampa (22 miles to the east) is the closest deep water port. The port is
serviced by a variety of steamship agents and operators. The United States Coast Guard
maintains an air station at the St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport, and a
search and sea rescue cutter station on Clearwater Harbor opposite Sand Key.

Gulf Coast Motor Lines provides service daily between Clearwater, St. Petersburg
and Tampa and makes connections with Greyhound and Trailways Bus Lines in Tampa.
Scenic tours are available via Gray Line out of Clearwater and St. Petersburg, and both
Gray Line and Gulf Coast have buses for charter. Pinellas Suncoast Transit System
maintains 54 routes in 19 municipalities in Pinellas County. The Jolley Trolley services the
beach area and is available for charter.

Utilities, Public Service and Community Facilities

The City owns and operates its own water and wastewater collection systems.
Water is obtained from 17 deep wells owned and operated by the City (approximately 20-
25%) and from wholesale purchases from the Pinellas County Water System
(approximately 75-80%). Total daily average is approximately 29 million gallons per
day. The wastewater collection program provides for the transmission of wastewater
through the City's underground sewer mains, collectors and interceptor lines and for the
maintenance, repair and replacement of 363 miles of sanitary sewer lines.

The Department of Public Works maintains 305.1 miles of paved streets, 10.4 miles of
unpaved streets, 147 miles of stormwater mains, 567 miles of water mains and 753 miles
of gas mains.

Electric power is provided by Progress Energy and telephone service is provided
by Verizon of Florida, Inc. Bright House Networks and Knology provide cable television
service under franchises with the City. Local editions of the daily St. Petersburg Times
and The Tampa Tribune, plus weekly newspapers from adjacent Dunedin, Largo,
Seminole and Clearwater Beach are widely distributed.

The Clearwater Public Library System consists of a main library and four branches
which are spread evenly throughout the community for easy access.

The City offers 42 acres of public beach front, 1,134 acres of parks, 32 playgrounds,
numerous athletic courts and fields, seven swimming pools, an 8,500 seat baseball
and softball stadium, three golf courses, seven recreational centers, 32 special recreation
facilities, 7.4 miles of recreational paths, boat ramps and a 209 slip yacht basin and marina.

The Philadelphia Phillies conduct spring training at the municipal baseball stadium and have
a long-term contract for farm club training on Clearwater's specially constructed facilities
during theWinter Instructional League Program. Clearwater is the home of the Clearwater
Bombers, a national amateur fast pitch softball team.

Tourism

The State of Florida reported 82.5 million tourists came to Florida during the year
2008, a decrease of 2.3% from 2007. The first six months of the year actually showed a
2.9% increase. It was during the second six months that the global economic crisis caused
consumers to change vacation patterns and companies to cancel meetings and
conventions. More than 3,859,000 residents took a pleasure trip in the fourth quarter of
2008 and in-state trips increased by 22.9% in 2008 overall. Preliminary data collected at
14 of Florida's major airports shows a 7.3% decrease in total enplanements to Florida for
the fourth quarter and a decrease of 2.1% for 2008. During the fourth quarter of 2008,
overseas travel to Florida decreased by 8.0%, however overseas visitation for the 2008
calendar year increased 1.1%. Canadian travel to Florida during the fourth quarter shows
a 5.7% decline, yet Canadian travel to Florida increased by 14.0% overall in 2008.
According to information provided by the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area Convention
and Visitor's Bureau, there are over 13.5 million visitors to the Pinellas County are
annually. Tourism is the region's number one employer with Pinellas County residents
earning a combined annual payroll of $2.9 billion annually. The total impact of tourism to
Pinellas County is over $6.9 billion annually. Pinellas County is ranked seventh of the top
ten destinations in Florida. Clearwater's Fun 'N Sun Festival each spring attracts
thousands of visitors.

Education

The Pinellas County School District is the seventh largest in the State and operates
a total of 180 schools comprising elementary through high school, vocational schools
(including Area Vocational Centers), alternative schools, Charter Schools and
Department of Juvenile Justice Schools within the County. The Pinellas County School
District is the 23rd largest in the nation and the seventh largest in the State with 19,000
part-time and full-time employees. During the 2005-2006 school year enrollment reached
109,087 with students attending 82 elementary (K-5), 24 middle schools (6-8), 17 high
schools (9-12), along with five exceptional schools and four centers, four secondary
schools (6-12), 27 alternative education centers and six charter schools. The district also
operates one adult learning center, one secondary vocational center, two technical
education centers, two evening adult high schools and three community schools with a
2005-2006 enrollment of 46,091. Private schools and academies are also located within
or near the City limits. In addition, St. Petersburg College has a Clearwater campus.
Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Beacon College in Largo, Stetson University College of
Law in Gulfport, the University of South Florida and the University of Tampa in Tampa
offer nearby college and post-graduate education.

Industry, Commerce and Labor

Light, clean industry is encouraged in Clearwater. In 1957, the City of Clearwater
developed a 100 acre industrial park adjacent to the Clearwater Airpark (Executive
Airport) and to the CSX Transportation Company. There is also a privately owned, 35
acre industrial park. Large industries located near Clearwater include Honeywell, General
Electric, UNISYS, Concept and Hercules Defense Electronics Systems, Inc. During the
1999 fiscal year IMRglobal Corp. ("IMR") occupied its new world headquarters in
downtown Clearwater.

 

For general information about Clearwater, including demographics, please click
on this City of Clearwater relocation page:


Relocating or starting a business in Clearwater

The Pinellas County Economic Development Department is also a great resource

Economic Development

On our Real Estate Page you will find several realtors who will be happy to send you a relocation Packet

 

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