New Murals add Color to an Already Extraordinary Pathway
The grand opening of the Clearwater section of the Pinellas Trail in late 1997 completed the 47-mile exercise path. And now, murals are adding further beauty to the trail to delight its users, with the first, by Jeff Litton of Clearwater, unveiled on March 25.
fter years of waiting, people are today biking, skating and strolling the Pinellas Trail through downtown Clearwater.
The citys final two-mile segment, unveiled recently, completed the county-wide exercise path that starts in St. Petersburg and travels northward for 47 miles to Tarpon Springs. The trail is a Pinellas County Park, constructed and maintained for enjoyment of the countys residents.
Judging by the significant improvements and prosperity the trail has brought to other Pinellas communities, its completion serves as a harbinger of revitalization for the downtown area.
The grand opening of the Clearwater section, an event dubbed Trailfest 97 and held late that year, featured a ceremony with city and county officials and a concert by rock legend Edgar Winter. Activities included games, contests and races, as well as entertainment by musicians, clowns, magicians and jugglers.
City officials planned the celebration in cooperation with local merchants, banks, civic organizations such as the Downtown Development Board (DDB), and private citizens thousands of whom were on hand for this special event.
In addition to its work on completion of the trail, the DDB sponsored the Clearwater Murals Project to brighten the downtown along the trails route.
This project is beautifying the pathway with large, colorful murals painted by professional artists on the walls of nearby buildings. Since part of the trail lies along a railway corridor, that section was never a scenic route, being primarily surrounded by warehouses and manufacturing facilities. Fortunately, some of these structures have large, blank walls, ideal for artistic endeavors. The DDB advertised and called for artists to submit applications that showed their experience and what they could create. More than 56 responded.
The Pinellas trail is a Pinellas County Park, constructed and maintained for enjoyment of the countys residents. Judging by the significant improvements and prosperity the trail has brought to other Pinellas communities, its completion serves as a harbinger of revitalization for the downtown area.
A panel of judges selected eight respondents; each was asked to submit a proposal for a specific building along the trail. Artists began work on the first several murals late in 1997.
And now, these works of art are adding further beauty to the trail to delight its users. The first, by Jeff Litton of Clearwater, places the passer-by inside a submarine, enjoying a three-dimensional view of some of the colorful fish and other forms of sea life found in local waters. Located near the corner of Cleveland Street and East Avenue, it was unveiled on March 25 by Clearwater Mayor Rita Garvey, with citizens and dignitaries from throughout the Tampa Bay area in attendance.
The city also plans to further enhance the trail with landscaping.
A citizens group founded by Scientologists, the Clearwater Beautification & Development Association, has raised funds to get the murals completed. At one recent DDB meeting, the Association donated $10,000 to the board for the murals.
Corporate sponsors for mural work are welcome and will be acknowledged for their support. Please contact the DDB Chairman Roger Woodruff at 442-7184 for further information.