|City of Clearwater, Florida|
|— City —|
Location in Pinellas County and the state of Florida
|Second Incorporation||May 27, 1915|
|- Mayor||Frank Hibbard|
|- City||37.7 sq mi (97.7 km2)|
|- Land||25.3 sq mi (65.5 km2)|
|- Water||12.4 sq mi (32.2 km2)|
|Elevation||30 ft (9 m)|
|- Density||4,295.9/sq mi (1,659.4/km2)|
|- Metro||4 million (shared with Tampa and St. Petersburg)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|- Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0280543|
Clearwater is a city located in Pinellas County, Florida, US, nearly due west of Tampa and northwest of St. Petersburg. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 108,787; however, according to the 2005 U.S. Census Bureau's estimates, the city's population fell slightly to 108,687. It is the county seat of Pinellas County. Clearwater is the smallest of the three principal cities in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area, most commonly referred to as the Tampa Bay Area.
Present-day Clearwater was originally the home of the Tocobaga people.
Around 1835, the United States Army began construction of Fort Harrison, named after William Henry Harrison, as an outpost during the Seminole Wars. The fort was located on a bluff overlooking Clearwater Harbor, which later became part of an early 20th century residential development called Harbor Oaks. University of South Florida archaeologists excavated the site in 1977 after Alfred C. Wyllie discovered an underground ammunition bunker while digging a swimming pool on his estate.
The area's population grew after the Federal Armed Occupation Act of 1842 offered 160 acres (0.65 km2) to anyone who would bear arms and cultivate the land. Early settlers included the Stevens, Stevenson and McMullen families, who claimed and farmed large tracts of land. Prior to 1906, the area was known as Clear Water Harbor. The name "Clear Water" is thought to have come from a fresh water spring flowing from near where the City Hall building is located today. There were many other freshwater springs that dotted the bluff, many in the bay or harbor itself.
During the American Civil War, Union gunboats repeatedly raided the city's supplies as most of the able-bodied men were away fighting for the Confederate States of America army. The town began developing in the late nineteenth century, prompted by Peter Demens' completion of the first passenger railroad line into the city in 1888. Clearwater was incorporated in 1891, with James E. Crane becoming the first mayor. The area's popularity as a vacation destination grew after railroad magnate Henry B. Plant built a sprawling Victorian resort hotel named Belleview Biltmore just south of Clearwater in 1897.
By the early 1900s, Clearwater's population had grown to around 400, ballooning to nearly 1,000 in the winter. Clearwater's oldest existing newspaper, the Clearwater Sun, was first published on March 14, 1914.Clearwater Sun Clearwater was reincorporated, this time as a city, on May 27, 1915, and was designated the county seat for Pinellas County, which broke from Hillsborough County in 1912. Also in 1915, a bridge was built across Clearwater Harbor, joining the city with Clearwater Beach to the west. Clearwater Beach, although located on a separate barrier island, belongs to the city of Clearwater and fronts the Gulf of Mexico. A new, much higher bridge now arcs over the bay, replacing the former drawbridge; the connecting road is part of Florida State Road 60 and is called Clearwater Memorial Causeway.
During World War II, Clearwater became a major training base for US troops destined for Europe and the Pacific. Virtually every hotel in the area, including the Belleview Biltmore and the Fort Harrison Hotel, was used as a barracks for new recruits. Vehicle traffic was regularly stopped for companies of soldiers marching through downtown, and nighttime blackouts to confuse potential enemy bombers were common practice. The remote and isolated Dan's Island, now the highrise-dominated Sand Key, was used as a target by U.S. Army Air Corps fighter-bombers for strafing and bombing practice.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Clearwater is located at .
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 97.7 km² (37.7 mi²). 65.5 km² (25.3 mi²) of it is land and 32.2 km² (12.4 mi²) of it (32.98%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 108,787 people, 48,449 households, and 27,422 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,660.8/km² (4,302.1/mi²). There were 56,802 housing units at an average density of 867.2/km² (2,246.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 83.85% White, 9.79% African American, 0.32% Native American, 1.64% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 2.48% from other races, and 1.85% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.97% of the population.
There were 48,449 households out of which 21.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.7% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.4% were non-families. 35.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.79.
In the city the population was spread out with 19.1% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 27.6% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 21.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 91.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $36,494, and the median income for a family was $46,228. Males had a median income of $31,067 versus $25,066 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,786. About 8.4% of families and 12.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.8% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.
The City of Clearwater is administered by a Council-Manager form of government, and the City Manager serves as the Chief Executive and Administrative Officer of the City.
The Clearwater City Council comprises the Mayor and four Council members each of whom serves a four year term. The Council is responsible for setting policies and making decisions on local government issues including tax rates, annexations, property code variances and large contract awards.
The City Manager and City Council are supported by the various City Departments.
Tampa International Airport serves Clearwater and the rest of the Tampa Bay Area as the primary means of air travel. St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport, however, has seen an increase in usage recently with 747,369 passengers accounted for in 2007.
The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) bus service is currently Pinellas County's only general public transit. The service offers approximately 35 local routes, two express routes which cross Tampa Bay to the east, and a beach trolley that runs north and south along the county's roughly 25-mile long chain of barrier islands.
One of PSTA's transfer hubs, Park Street Terminal, is located in downtown Clearwater.
The major street arterial system in Clearwater is essentially an east-west, north-south oriented grid pattern. Gulf to Bay Boulevard is the east-west backbone of the city, ending at Clearwater Beach on its west end and progressing over the Courtney Campbell Causeway on its east end en route to Tampa. SR 580, Sunset Point Road, Drew Street, Lakeview Road, and Belleair Road are the other heavily traveled east-west arterials in Clearwater. Major north-south routes include U.S. Route 19 Alternate, Myrtle Avenue, Missouri Avenue, Highland Avenue, Keene Road, Hercules Avenue, Belcher Road, and McMullen-Booth Road.
U.S. Route 19 is by far the area's most heavily traveled road, some parts of it carrying nearly 100,000 vehicles per day. It is a limited-access highway for a majority of its length in Clearwater, with an exception being the portion between Druid Road and Haines Bayshore Road. Plans are being developed to upgrade this piece to freeway standards, however.
The Capitol/Royalty Theatre
JANUARY 2009 - The City of Clearwater and Ruth Eckerd Hall join forces to renovate and revitalize the historic Capitol Theatre.
The worldwide headquarters of the Church of Scientology is located in downtown Clearwater, Florida. Officially known in Scientology as Flag Land Base, this international headquarters was founded in the late 1970s when an anonymous Scientology-founded group called "United Churches of Florida" purchased the Fort Harrison Hotel for $3 million. The citizens and City Council of Clearwater did not realize that the building's owners were actually the Church of Scientology until after the building's purchase. Clearwater citizen's groups, headed by Mayor Gabe Cazares, rallied against Scientology establishing a base in the city (repeatedly referring to the organization as a cult), but Flag Land Base was established nonetheless. In response, the Church smeared him with false sex allegations and a faked hit and run incident. Concerns were further raised when it was revealed the purchases had been part of Project Normandy, a plan to take over the city by infiltrating government offices and media centers, which came out as part of investigations into the Guardian's Office dirty-tricks campaigns known as Operation Snow White.
In the years since its foundation, Flag Land Base has expanded as the church has gradually purchased additional property in the downtown Clearwater area. Scientology's largest project in Clearwater has been the construction of a huge high-rise complex called the "Super Power Building", an enormous structure whose highest point, when completed, will be a huge Scientology cross that will tower over the city. Its relationship with the city has not always been smooth (such as the 1997 protest against Chief Klein and the Clearwater Police Department). Former Mayor of Clearwater, Gabe Cazares said in an interview that Clearwater was now completely occupied by Scientology.
Clearwater has city partnerships with the following cities: