Does Clearwater still need a downtown? - 2014-07-05
A complicating factor is the presence of the Church of Scientology, which owns significant chunks of downtown and brings some activity there in the form of believers who travel to Clearwater for religious services. But some locals stay away from the district largely because of Scientology's presence.
The organization is downtown's biggest taxpayer because it pays taxes on the hotels that it maintains. But about two-thirds of its property is tax-exempt. Also, land owned by the church is kept out of the hands of private enterprise.