Construction has officially begun on the city’s new marina building after a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday, January 7.
The new two-story, Key West style building that will feature a gathering area for guests, new bathrooms, rooms for overnight guests, and the harbormaster’s new office.
Harbormaster Denis Frain said he is pleased to be adding space for guests who spend the night at the marina, which will include private bathrooms.
“We’ve had a record transient occupancy last year and we have people coming from all over the United States,” Frain said. “We have a following called the Loopers. Generally they are retired and they travel up the east coast, through the Great Lakes, down the Mississippi, around the Big Bend, around the west coast of Florida, and around the Keys and back up. It’s called the Great Loop. And we are a stop over for supplies and to fly out of Tampa International. They like it here because it is well protected and because of our downtown area.”
Renovations will also be conducted on the existing marina building, which was built in 1983, according to Frain.
“What we’re doing inside is we’re taking out two offices and making it one big retail area,” Frain said. “So it’s going to add probably 400 square feet to the inside for selling bait, ice, beer and sundries.”
The new 2,500 square foot building is scheduled to be completed within eight months of groundbreaking and will cost $700,000.
“I am very excited,” Frain, who has worked at the marina since 1983, added. “After 30 years at this, I finally get a new office.”
He explained: “The building wasn’t really designed for what we’re using to for today. If you go to any other marina, the marina office is always on the second floor so it can overlook the harbor and see what’s going on.”
The new building is only the beginning of what Frain hopes for in the future.
“This building will be the catalyst of the new marina master plan,” Frain said. “That will include what the boaters and residents want to see in this area.”