Sebastian’s working waterfront project could cost more

SEBASTIAN–The Sebastian City Council will be asked next Wednesday to allocate an extra $50,000 toward a working waterfront project that would renovate the former Hurricane Harbor.

City Manager Al Minner presented the request to the city’s Waterfront Committee, which appeared ready to support the additional funding. Only three members of the committee were in attendance, which was not enough for a vote.

Minner explained that the items the city agreed to repair and replace within Hurricane Harbor are expected to cost more than originally budgeted, necessitating the additional $50,000. He told the committee that the funds could be shifted from other Community Redevelopment Area projects.

He also told the committee that he is recommending to council that the city modify its lease with the Fisherman’s Landing Sebastian – the non-profit poised to operate the project. That modification would sign over responsibility of Hurricane Harbor to the non-profit, though the city would still retain control of both that site and the neighboring Dabrowski property.

“It just makes sense,” Minner said of having Fisherman’s Landing Sebastian take over both properties. He explained that by doing so, it would keep the city at arm’s length from the project, which he had envisioned from the start.

The group could also move faster on the fixes needed and get the site operational by April, Minner said.

Also, he told the committee, FLS would be in a better position to know what exactly needs to be fixed up to suit its or its sub-tenants’ purposes. And, FLS would be better equipped to handle sub-leases with tenants.

Indian River Seafood plans on moving into Hurricane Harbor, according to Minner.

“We’re truly blessed to have someone like Charlie (Sembler) and his group to take over a project like this,” committee member Barbara Salmon said.

Sembler’s family has been involved in commercial fishing and clamming for numerous years in the area.

“I think this is a good shift,” Waterfronts Committee Chairman John Conway said of the proposed lease changes.

He explained that by having FLS in charge of making the renovations, there would not be needless fixes.

Minner told the committee that the city’s funds would be available to Fisherman’s Landing Sebastian through approved draws supported by receipts for services and materials.

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