Sebastian Committee: Grand opening of former Hurricane Harbor mere weeks away

SEBASTIAN – The former Hurricane Harbor is a few weeks away from celebrating its grand opening, the Sebastian Working Waterfront Committee learned Thursday.

“The project is starting to wind down,” City Manager Al Minner said of the first phase of the public/private partnership.

The committee gathered at Hurricane Harbor to see for themselves the progress being made on getting the site ready for the public. The members stood around the original bar, which had been salvaged during the renovation work.

“We really debated a lot” about keeping the bar,” Minner said.

“That had to stay,” member Barbara Salmon quipped.

Aside from painting and general cleaning, tile still needs to be placed on the floor of the main room and workers need to “spiffy up” the bathrooms and bar, Minner told the committee.

In the retail fish market area, the main room nearest Indian River Drive, the fish counter and cases need to be installed, as does another chandelier.

Once the center opens, visitors will be able to purchase fresh fish and seafood to take home, pick up a sandwich and beverage – be it soda, beer or wine – and snack along the waterfront.

They will also be able to see into one of the freezers the fish market will use.

“A lot of effort went into the freezers,” Minner told the committee. “It’s kind of a neat touch.”

The city has approved a lease with Indian River Seafood to operate the fish market and kitchen, according to Minner, and expects to have the company sign off on it within a week.

Committee member Lisanne Robinson asked about the plans to weave in the history of the site within the new center.

Minner said as the interior is completed, historical displays would be placed on the walls and along the entry corridor and worked into the retail fish market.

Minner led the committee around the building, taking them outside to look at the exterior.

“I hope everyone likes the color,” Minner said of the pale yellow used. “We tried to stay kind of conservative.”

“The color’s good,” member and Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Beth Mitchell said.

Committee Chair John Conway marveled at how nice the building and surrounding property looks.

“All the ugly’s hidden,” he said, noting that the raised walkway outside the building acts as a cover for some unsightly items.

Minner told the committee that the next step after getting the former Hurricane Harbor opened and operational will be to get the commercial fishing operation next door – the Dabrowski site – fixed up.

He said they could expect to see work to that end begin sometime in the fall or winter of this year.

Work there includes installing a circular drive, rebuilding the fish house, adding a touch pool of “fun stuff” and building an area for the public to observe the work the fishermen were doing.

When that phase would be completed remains unknown and is dependent on timing and funds, Minner said.

The committee hopes to hold a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for the former Hurricane Harbor sometime in late June or early July. Minner said it is possible the facility could be up and running before the official ceremony.

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