Work to improve the Scipio Creek Boat Basin also known as the Mill Pond for use as a viable facility to help sustain and generate seafood related jobs is nearing completion.
The idea to renovate the basin came out of meetings held in late 2003 by the City of Apalachicola Waterfronts Committee. Working diligently over a two-year period with a $50K grant obtained from the Waterfronts Florida Program the committee created a vision for the basin that included providing the necessary infrastructure to ensure the continued existence of the local seafood industry.
The city endorsed a feasibility study funded through a $50K allocation from the Franklin County Tourist Development Council to outline infrastructure options, priorities, and the financial feasibility of the project.
After the study was completed the project failed to move forward for lack of local funding until early 2009. In early 2009 Kevin Begos, former Executive Director for the Franklin County Oyster and Seafood Task Force alerted city officials of funding opportunities through the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA). With the news city officials contracted with the Apalachee Regional Planning Council (ARPC) to apply to the EDA to fund the project.
In mid-2010 the EDA announced that the City of Apalachicola had been awarded a $1.86M grant to fund the project by the agency. In addition to the EDA funding the city obtained $436K from a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), and tossed in themselves $215K from their revolving loan fund for a total of $2.5M towards the renovation.
In addition to the renovation work the city obtained $250K from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC), and another $100K from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DOACS) to construct a haul out facility to remove boats out of the basin for repairs and routine maintenance.
Once the project is completed it will include a boat maintenance yard with a 50-ton haul out lift, a large structural steel open air market pavilion including restrooms with a metal roof system, and a smaller open air pavilion along with upgraded electrical, underground utilities and drainage.
The projects scheduled completion date in November 25th, once completed and operational the project is expected to create up to 44 new jobs.
Photos by Gail Johnson