Residents and visitors to Clearwater, Florida, have a new destination to enjoy in their backyard. Coachman Park now welcomes guests to its redeveloped 24-acre urban waterfront. The city held its grand opening for the $84 million project on June 28. Designed by global firm Stantec and constructed by Skanska, the reimagined park gives the community a new engaging space for families and friends to gather, and it will play host to a variety of events and musical performances.
Connecting the waterfront to the rest of the city, a new Civic Gateway Plaza links the park to Downtown Clearwater, while a Bay Walk promenade lets visitors take in views of the Intracoastal Waterway. These connections increase connectivity to Clearwater’s core downtown area and provide walkable pathways to the waterfront. The Civic Gateway Plaza greets park goers to the 525,000 square feet of new park greenspace, and the park amenities invite them to explore the natural beauty of the reimagined Coachman Park. Families and children can enjoy the 10,000-square-foot, ocean-themed playground and cool off in the adjacent splash pad.
The park also includes a special emphasis on the arts. The design intertwines open areas throughout the park that will serve as blank canvases for art installations to showcase creative projects from the community and beyond. The Sound is an outdoor music venue and stage with covered seating for 4,000 people and another 5,000 on the adjacent open lawn that will host year-round performances.
Stantec provided architecture and interior design; landscape architecture; civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering; coastal resiliency analysis; and construction administration services for the project.
“I’ve traveled all over the world and there is nothing like the new Coachman Park anywhere else! Every time I get to come to the new park, I am amazed at how great the views and amenities are here. We are so lucky to live here and have this public space that can now be the community’s park,” said Clearwater mayor Brian J. Aungst Sr. “No detail was overlooked in the design, and I, for one, am happy to be able to bring my grandkids to enjoy the playground and splashpad. I also know they will be able to bring their kids here in the future since it was designed with resiliency and sustainability in mind. I know this park will be a great place for generations to come.”
The Stantec team designed the park with a focus on its environmental impact. Within 20 years, the park will achieve net zero carbon emissions. Beyond 2043, Stantec predicts the park will become climate positive, meaning it will capture and store more carbon per foot than it releases into the atmosphere. Over its 50-year lifespan, it’s estimated Coachman Park will capture 1,647 tons more carbon than it emits.
Sustainable features incorporated throughout the park include solar panels, electric vehicle charging stations, native landscaping, bioswales for stormwater conveyance, and energy efficient materials. Additionally, to protect the City’s investment, Stantec designed Coachman Park above the current Federal Emergency Management Agency requirements to mitigate flood risk and account for sea level rise.
“Our team is passionate about the value and enjoyment Coachman Park will bring to the community. Having this project in our backyard and seeing it come to life after years of hard work is incredibly rewarding,” said Greg Meyer, Stantec principal and project manager. “We’re grateful to the City of Clearwater and Skanska for their partnership throughout design and construction. We’re all eager for the public to come out and enjoy the reimagined Coachman Park for decades to come.”
Stantec has a long history of providing community development services in the Tampa Bay area. The firm played a key role in bringing Water Street Tampa to life, providing early planning, zoning, and infrastructure studies and design that is helping turn more than 50 acres of parking and warehouses in Downtown Tampa into a sustainable, walkable, urban district.
The Imagine Clearwater project aligns with Stantec’s focus on Coastal Resilience, as outlined in its strategic plan. The firm recently completed designs for the Battery Coastal Resilience Project in Lower Manhattan, which aims to protect against the impacts of sea level rise ensuring the usability of the iconic public space for New York City’s millions of annual visitors and residents. Further, Stantec’s work on the Blue Green Corridors Project in New Orleans, Louisiana, is set to reduce flood risk and encourage neighborhood revitalization.
Learn more about Stantec’s Urban Places practice.