ince their official openings in May, the two newest additions to downtown beautification are enjoying full use.
On the northwest corner of Drew and Osceola, the brand new, three-story addition to the religious counseling facilities of the Church of Scientology’s Sandcastle Religious Retreat opened in May to a crowd of cheering parishioners and neighbors.
The Sandcastle, as it is familiarly known, houses ministerial training and counseling facilities for Scientologists from all over the world. In addition, it continues to operate as a hotel for parishioners, with guest rooms and suites, a Gulf-view restaurant, a pool and exercise facilities.
Constructed over the preceding year and a half, the three new floors are furnished in a tropical style, utilizing light and medium wood paneling, tile floors, and bright blue and green accents. Three new balcony lounges provide parishioners a peaceful view of the intracoastal waterway and Gulf. Business centers and new phone facilities enable them to easily conduct work, stay in touch with family and attend to the other aspects of their busy lives.
While the Sandcastle addition was under construction, directly across the street to the east of the building the related Osceola Inn renovation project was underway — also opened in May.
The Church purchased the inn, formerly an assisted living facility, mid 1998 to accommodate the growing number of parishioners visiting Clearwater to participate in Scientology religious services. The building underwent complete exterior and interior renovations.
The Church also re-landscaped the Osceola grounds, giving a new visual dimension to the section of the plot facing North Fort Harrison Avenue, which now includes an interior sidewalk and benches throughout gardens filled with live oaks and cedar trees for shade.
“The gardens are open to the public. Visitors can enjoy a restful spot during their lunch breaks, or just come for some shade on a hot summer day,” said Pat Harney, a spokesperson for the Church.
The parking lot of the Osceola Inn serves another duty each December as the site of the Church’s annual Winter Wonderland. The three-week Holiday event raises food, toys and funds for families in need throughout Pinellas County.
“The properties have been turned into real assets to the community,” said Main Street Manager Anne Green.
Contact Lisa Cook at (727) 467-6860 at the Church of Scientology or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for a schedule of open houses at the Sandcastle and Osceola Inn.