Sebastian council to recognize Friends group, tax incentives

SEBASTIAN — The Sebastian City Council will meet Wednesday evening to discuss, among other issues, the city’s planned referendum question for the ballot and recognize a volunteer group for 20 years of service.

Indian River County Commissioner Peter O’Bryan is expected to attend the council meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m., to discuss the city’s Tax Abatement Referendum. He will be conducting a presentation. The City of Sebastian decided to move forward with asking its residents to vote on the issue before the county. County leaders had planned to move forward with its own referendum this November but later chose to pose the question next year.

Other municipalities are expected to add the referendum to their ballots during the 2010 elections.

Also on the council’s agenda Wednesday is a proclamation recognizing the Friends of the St. Sebastian River. The group is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. Members of the non-profit organization are expected to be on hand to accept the proclamation.

While the group officially became a reality in June 1988, Friends members chose to celebrate in

October, according to Tim Glover, the organization’s president.

Over the course of 20 years, the Friends of the St. Sebastian River have worked to get the St. Sebastian River dredged, raise awareness for water quality, and petitioned government agencies to acquire environmentally sensitive properties.

“The concerns these days are a little less dramatic,” Glover said.

One such concern is the missing 50-foot vegetative buffer from the Sebastian Municipal Airport/Roseland Road project’s documentation from 2002.

While the buffer exists in reality, it is not shown in the city’s records as being in place.

Glover said that the Friends of the St. Sebastian River support adding the buffer to the documentation in order to preserve it for the future. Otherwise, sometime down the road someone might decide to remove the buffer without realizing it is supposed to be there.

The Friends organization draws members from Sebastian and Roseland in Indian River County and Micco and Little Hollywood in Brevard. The group boasts about 100 members, most of whom are middle aged or retirees. Glover said that the group would love to have some younger blood, too.

Members meet on odd-numbered months and won’t meet again until Nov. 24. The meetings are open to the public and memberships cost $10 per year for one or $15 per year for multiple members of the same family.

Friends members are known to take kayaks out on the river to clean up trash from the banks and water.

The group invites the community out to celebrate its 20th anniversary at Dale Wimbrow Park in Sebastian off Roseland Road from 3 to 6 p.m. on Oct. 24 for a beer-free Oktoberfest.

There will be German food, kayaking, raffles, and entertainment.

For more information about the Friends of the St. Sebastian River, visit

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