FWC grant to provide 71% of expense for about 22 ‘day dock’ boat slips for Canal District in The Bay Park

City bond funds and West Coast Inland Navigation Project appropriation to cover rest of cost

The Sarasota City Commission this week unanimously authorized City Manager Marlon Brown to execute a $1,650,000 grant with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). The funds will be used to construct 800 linear feet of day docks along the northern and southern shorelines of The Bay Park in downtown Sarasota and to reconstruct the seawall in that area, the Agenda Request Form said.

A map included with the documents shows the area of the Centennial Park Boat Ramp, which is located near 10th Street in Sarasota.

The day docks will be used by transient boaters visiting the Canal District, as explained in the Agenda Request Form for the commission’s regular meeting on May 1.

“The day docks will provide the public increased access to enjoy cultural, historical, environmental and social opportunities that the park and surrounding community provide,” the form adds.

The grant is in effect through Oct. 1, 2025, the form notes.

“The total approved estimated project cost” is $2,336,321, the form says. Thus, the FWC grant will cover 71% of the expense, the form points out. The required match of $686,321 will be provided through the issuance of $50 million in city bonds, which the commission approved on April 17 to pay for Phase 2 of The Bay Park on 53 acres that the city owns on Sarasota Bay, plus money that the West Coast Inland Navigation District has approved, the Agenda Request Form explains.

The District, as its website explains, “is charged with maintaining and enhancing public navigation channels and inlets, boating access facilities, waterfront parks, and piers.”

The District is a special taxing body that covers Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and Lee counties.

During past discussions about the plans for Phase 2 of The Bay Park, Bill Waddill, the chief operating officer of the Bay Park Conservancy — the nonprofit that manages the park and raises private funding for it — has noted the plans for the day docks in the Canal District. Those facilities, he has pointed out, will enable more boaters to enjoy the park amenities.

He also has explained that the seawall in that portion of the park is crumbling and needs to be replaced. The FWC grant agreement notes that 305 square feet of the timber dock and 383 linear feet of concrete cap will be removed, along with 113 linear feet of the southern seawall sections, through the use of “land-based equipment.”

As for the day docks: The agreement explains that two concrete floating docks with side-tie mooring features will be installed, providing the equivalent of 22 slips, “assuming 26 feet per slip.”