CLEARWATER, Fla. (970 WFLA) — A referendum to allow the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to lease the downtown City Hall property for a new aquatic center has passed by more than 1,600 votes. The measure garnered 9,373, or 55 percent, of votes cast, compared to 7,701, or 45 percent, of no votes, according to the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections office. The election was effectively decided before polls opened today, with 13,490 of the 17,074 votes cast — 79 percent — as absentee ballots.
Today’s vote will modify the city charter and allows the City Council to enter a proposed 60-year lease with the aquarium, which plans to build a $160-million attraction. A preliminary deal calls for the aquarium to repay the city $7.5 million plus interest over time to replace the current aging City Hall, followed by annual payments of $250,000. Click Here to read the entire story at TBO.com.