SEBASTIAN – Sebastian council members are considering what their city could look like a decade from now – and those ideas include a water taxi taking residents up the Indian River Lagoon to the Sebastian Inlet and possible dinner cruises.
Mayor Richard Gillmor told his fellow council members that Sebastian’s waterfront would be the engine to drive the city and offered up the taxi and cruises as possibilities. “It’s our I-95,” Councilman Eugene Wolff said of the river. “We need to capture those dollars” that are floating by on the boats.
As part of the city’s vision, Wolff suggested the city work toward establishing moorings that would allow boaters to temporarily dock and walk the waterfront.
Building on the idea, Councilwoman Andrea Coy noted the city’s biggest and best asset is its environment – not only the lagoon, but also the conservation greenspace.
“Tourism is key,” she said, including eco-tourism.
Sebastian resident Louise Kautenburg told the council during the workshop that they should “polish the string of pearls we are.”
Mayor Gillmor also said he would like to consider having a wave pool at one of the city’s parks where people could learn how to surf.
“That’s wild,” he said of the possibility of becoming the “surf capital” of the Florida east coast.
Along with coming up with ideas of what the council might want to have for the city in 10 years, the council members discussed some of the challenges they would be facing.
Wolff pointed out that the city has a large inventory of homes that were built in the 1970s – they would be 50 years old by 2020.
He said he’d like to see a renaissance of the older homes – either through rehabilitation and renovation or through rebuilding.
If the Highlands community were well maintained through the years, it could serve as a way to attract and entice seasonal residents and retirees, he said.
Mayor Gillmor was expected to incorporate the council’s ideas into his vision plan and share it with the county’s other mayors.
The mayors from Fellsmere, Vero Beach, Orchid and Indian River Shores are expected to create their own plans and share amongst themselves and come up with one cohesive plan they eventually would present to the Board of County Commissioners.
The goal would be to create a comprehensive plan for the entire county, something that each government would be striving for in an attempt to shape the future for the area.