Working Waterfront




(NOTE: Working Waterfront slide show will be placed here)



In May 2010, a bank foreclosed on a local commercial restaurant property located within the Sebastian CRA, on the Indian River Drive waterfront. This property was ran-down and need of restoration and development.


A small restaurant group approached the City about purchasing the property and restoring it. However, they wanted to expand seating to make the facility economically viable. This required more parking, which was not available on site.


The CRA and Economic Development Departments came up with a plan for “payment in lieu of parking” using City parking areas adjacent to the restaurant property to satisfy zoning requirements. This required a modification of the Land Development Regulations.


By late August 2010, the CRA and the City had approved the modified regulations so that the purchase of the property could proceed.


Restoration began in September 2010 and a grand opening was held in early December. In just over two months, the City of Sebastian moved to help establish a new business and provide valuable jobs for the area.






In early 2009, Sebastian City staff began discussions about a grant application to revive and build a “working waterfront” area along Indian River Drive in Sebastian. There were two parcels of land with buildings for sale that were originally considered. The application for the “Stan Mayfield Working Waterfront” program was filed in 2009. At the same time, a local, non-profit fishermen’s group filed an application to restore their fishing pier adjacent to the land/buildings proposed by the City.


Subsequently, through various negotiations with the State of Florida and the local fisherman’s group, the final application was a merger of interests whereby the City of Sebastian received the grant to buy what was known as the “Hurricane Harbor” property as well as the land and piers adjacent. The final grant and purchase of the properties closed in late 2009. The grant allocated $3.1 million for the purchase with the City of Sebastian providing $350,000 to provide the final funding of the purchase price. Ultimately, the City funded an additional $300,000 for purchase and remodel.


The City entered into a lease with the fishermen’s interests, known a Fisherman’s Landing Inc. to restore and operate the facilities with the first order of business to restore and lease the “Hurricane Harbor” building and associated land.


The City provided $250,000 in “seed” moneys for this restoration with Fisherman’s Landing providing the remainder.




The Stan Mayfield Working Waterfronts Florida Forever grant program was created by the 2008 Legislature and is administered by Florida Communities Trust. To fund the program, the Legislature provided 2.5 percent of the total Florida Forever program appropriation, which at the current level provides $7.5 million annually to the program.


Grant funds will be used to acquire a parcel(s) of land directly used for the purposes of the commercial harvest of marine organisms or saltwater products by state-licensed commercial fishermen, aquaculturists, or business entities, including piers, wharves, docks, or other facilities operated to provide waterfront access to licensed commercial fishermen, aquaculturists, or business entities.


The funds may also be used for the acquisition of a parcel(s) of land used for exhibitions, demonstrations, educational venues, civic events, and other purposes that promote and educate the public about economic, cultural, and historic heritage of Florida's traditional working waterfronts, including the marketing of the seafood and aquaculture industries.


The acquisition of land used for recreational waterfront activities would not be considered within the Stan Mayfield Working Waterfronts Florida Forever grant program.


Florida's commercial fishing industry has faced a number of challenges in recent years, from hurricane damage to soaring fuel prices. Despite these challenges, Florida fishermen continue to persevere. To learn more about Florida's hardworking and dedicated fisherman and the working waterfronts and fishing communities they represent, click here to view more information concerning the Florida Working Waterfront program.




April 14, 2009
TALLAHASSEE - The Department of Community Affairs (DCA) announced that the Stan Mayfield Working Waterfronts Program will award more than $6.8 million in Florida Forever funds to three working waterfronts projects from across the state. On Tuesday, Governor Charlie Crist and the Cabinet voted to approve funding for the Sebastian Working Waterfront Collaborative in the City of Sebastian...


"Florida's traditional working waterfronts are a valuable resource to our coastal communities and have made a positive impact on our history and culture," said DCA Secretary Tom Pelham. "I congratulate these recipients for being the first to be awarded funding from the Stan Mayfield Working Waterfronts Program, and for their commitment to preserve the legacy that working waterfronts have made upon their communities and our state."


The Stan Mayfield Working Waterfronts Program, which is administered by Florida Communities Trust (FCT) and housed within the Department of Community Affairs, receives $7.5 million each year in Florida Forever funds. The funds are awarded to local communities to purchase land that facilitates commercial fishing or aquaculture, or that promote and educate the public about the economic, cultural and historical heritage of Florida's traditional working waterfronts. This was the first grant application cycle for the Stan Mayfield Working Waterfronts Program, and FCT received 12 applications from coastal communities requesting a combined total of $28 million in Florida Forever funds. The following are summaries of the three selected applicants that will receive funding:


Sebastian Working Waterfronts Collaborative, City of Sebastian: Located along the Indian River Lagoon, this two-acre property represents a public/private partnership between the City of Sebastian and Fisherman's Landing Sebastian, a non-profit working waterfront organization. The vision of this project is to link several parcels together to educate the public about the commercial fishing heritage of the community through a retail/wholesale seafood house, exhibitions, educational venues and events. Florida Communities Trust will award more than $3.1 million in Florida Forever funds for the acquisition and the City of Sebastian will contribute more than $351,000 in local match. Throughthe first quarter of 2016, the City has contributed over $750,000 to the project.





The City of Sebastian is well into the process of creating a "working waterfront" on the Indian River. The project is now named "Fisherman's Landing Sebastian". The main building in the project, originally known at “Hurricane Harbor” has been restored to include a large, working wholesale/retail fish market an eatery and a waterfront museum featuring Sebastian fishing history. Construction was completed by the end of 2015 to restore and rebuild the fish piers and fish house as well as installation of boardwalks along the River and upgrade parking.


The next phase of the project began in early Fall 2017. Project  will include the addition of a large public toilet facitity, additional drainage and work on the parking facility There is another phase in the planning stage which includes Lagoon side walkways, a viewing poind and possibly an ice house When completed, "Fisherman's Landing" will be a major tourist destination on the Treasure Coast. In a picture format, the slide show at the top of this page details the progress of the “working waterfront” project through the Fall of 2017