SEBASTIAN – The Sebastian City Council this week gave initial approval to a new park that would serve as an observation and picnic area at the Sebastian Municipal Airport.
City Manager Al Minner is expected to report back to the council after working out options to fund the estimated $5,000 project.
The city’s parks and recreation committee recommended the park at a recent meeting. A committee representative told the council on Wednesday that the city has several interesting parks and creating an aviation-inspired park would continue that tradition. She added that the airport is already a destination place for families and individuals who enjoy watching the planes take off and land as well as the skydivers.
The park would enhance that experience, she said.
The project, as currently proposed, would include at least one picnic table and a couple rocker seats in the shapes of planes and other such craft.
Scott Baker, president of airport tenant Velocity Aircraft, suggested to council that they try to incorporate some of the city’s history into the park. He reminded them that during the 2004 hurricanes, the Sebastian Municipal Airport served as a hub for the relief effort.
“There is some rich history to be shared,” Baker said.
He also asked about incorporating other activities or items in the park to target young teenagers.
“Flying fuels the imagination,” he said, later adding that aviation promotes learning the sciences and math. “It’s not a cavalier enterprise,” Baker said, explaining that it teaches responsibility.
Councilman Eugene Wolff asked Baker if it might be possible for the airport’s business community to perhaps donate a model plane that the older kids could explore. Baker said the businesses could provide sponsorships and perhaps other assistance.
“You sold me,” said Councilwoman Andrea Coy to Baker and other park supporters, explaining that she believes the park would fit nicely at the airport.
She also suggested that the city look into getting surplus military equipment – such as a plane from the Navy. Coy added that if the city could get a piece from the Navy, Army and the other military branches would want to be represented, too.
Minner initially recommended locating the “pocket” park – so named for its small size – on the west side of the airport.
However, members of the Sebastian City Council suggested the park might be better on the east side, near the administration building.
Vice Mayor Jim Hill said that in these tight financial times he is concerned with approving construction projects that require maintenance. He suggested the alternative park location, explaining that the site is already being mowed.
Funding options for the aviation-themed park at the airport is expected to be brought back to the council at a later date.