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Vero Beach could be home to new Sheriff boat station in Lagoon

VERO BEACH – Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar wants to install a boat lift behind Fire Station 2 on the Indian River Lagoon, but that request could be up to officials at the City of Vero Beach.

County commissioners, though supportive of Sheriff Loar’s request, said they want to make sure the city signs off on the boatlift and that the addition won’t affect the lease. Station 2 is located on the east end of Barber Bridge near Riverside Café on property owned by the city and leased to the county. When Vero Beach officials plan to review Sheriff Loar’s request was not immediately known. It was also not clear if the Vero Beach City Council would be the one to make the determination or if the city’s staff would.

City Manager Jim Gabbard did not return a phone call about the matter.

There is already a boat dock behind Station 2, which serves as a place for both the Vero Beach Police Department and Indian River County Emergency Services Department to keep emergency watercraft.

Sheriff Loar told commissioners that his office has had a boat stationed at that location, though not on a permanent basis. By allowing the department to put in a boatlift, the Sheriff’s Office could have a permanent boat there.

Sheriff Loar also told commissioners that there would be no cost to anyone, including his department, for acquiring and installing the boatlift. He explained that the department has a benefactor who has offered to pay the costs.

Commissioner Wesley Davis asked the sheriff about the need for a boat docked behind Station 2 when the department has one already positioned in Grand Harbor.

Sheriff Loar explained that the Grand Harbor location has a smaller boat than the one he would post at Station 2. Also, the Grand Harbor site is a volunteer vessel, he said.

The Station 2 site would allow for a quicker response time, the sheriff told commissioners.

“It’s a win-win for everyone,” he said.

The watercraft he would dock at Station 2 was purchased using criminal forfeiture funds and is larger than the current vessel docked at Grand Harbor, Sheriff Loar said.

Commissioners unanimously supported Sheriff Loar’s request for a boatlift behind Station 2, contingent on the City of Vero Beach’s approval and not having to modify the lease between the county and city for the property.

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