Sebastian leaders to consider allocating extra $179,000 for waterfront site

SEBASTIAN – The Sebastian City Council is expected to consider whether it wants to allocate an extra $179,000 to secure a piece of land for its working waterfront project tonight during the Community Redevelopment Agency meeting starting at 5:30 p.m.

The council in October approved moving forward with acquiring the former Hurricane Harbor property and the land to the south known as the Dabrowski property for about $351,000. The city received a Stan Mayfield Working Waterfront grant that would split the cost of the purchase between the state and city.

The city has approved spending $230,000 on the Hurricane Harbor site and had expected to pay $50,000 for its share of the Dabrowski site, based on the state’s appraisal of $500,000.

However, representatives for the site have said that their own appraisal shows the site is worth $1.5 million. During negotiations, the price tag for the property has decreased to $750,000.

The state, through the Stan Mayfield Working Waterfront program, is willing to pay only 90 percent of the state’s appraisal – $450,000, leaving the city to decide if it wants to pick up the remaining $300,000.

Sebastian leaders had set aside $351,000 for the purchase of both parcels, and with $230,000 already committed to the Hurricane Harbor purchase, the city has $121,000 it could apply to the Dabrowski site.

But that leaves the city with a $179,000 shortfall for the purchase.

The Sebastian City Council will have to decide whether it should cover the cost through its redevelopment budget, try to renegotiate a lower price for the site, or walk away from the project.

“There is significant financial reason to reject the offer,” City Manager Al Minner wrote in a memo about the issue to the city council in the agenda material. “Should this be the situation the CRA should consider abandoning the project.”

Minner also wrote, however, that if the city were to decide not to move forward on the Dabrowski purchase,

“It has become clear that acquiring actual working waterfront is vital to the project’s success,” Minner wrote. “Without such parcel it will become difficult to attract micro-business to the Hurricane Harbor parcel. Worst-case scenario is that the City purchases a parcel that has no usefulness…because of the lack of a secured working waterfront. In my opinion, going down this path would lead to an unsuccessful project.”

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