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Sea Plane Base in the Works for Fort Pierce

Sea Plane ramp.jpg
Image courtesy City of Fort Pierce
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The proposed location for the Sea Plane base is downtown along the Indian River Lagoon, just south of the south causeway between the Fort Pierce Yacht Club and the Manatee Center at Riverwalk.

Fort Pierce - Friday April 29, 2022: Plans are in the works to construct a Sea Plane base along the Indian River Lagoon in downtown Fort Pierce. City officials are moving forward with design plans following tentative permit approvals from state and federal officials.

An initial permit for construction of a Sea Plane base in Fort Pierce was granted by the Federal Aviation Commission last year, and just last month the Florida State Department of Transportation gave its approval. Fort Pierce City spokesman Joe Sweat says an Orlando engineering firm is in the process of designing the base.

"The next step would be approval of the engineering design and the permit for the construction," said Sweat. "Right now Avcon is the plan and design firm.”

The proposed location for the Sea Plane base is downtown along the Indian River Lagoon, just south of the south causeway between the Fort Pierce Yacht Club and the Manatee Center at Riverwalk. "Its a facility that can handle 4 to six sea planes, a concrete ramp ,and provide upland access behind the Riverwalk Center," said Sweat.

The Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency and others still need to sign off on the plan, And the cost of it all, has not yet been determined.

“Who is going to be managing the base? Is it going to be an outside party?," asked Sweat. "That’s one of the things that hasn't been determined yet. It’s another point that we really haven’t reached. Some of those decisions about what kind of costs are going to accrue, and where that money for the base is going to come from.”

The benefits to Fort Pierce could be substantial. “Without a doubt tourism, that’s first and foremost," said Sweat. "We’re straight across from the Bahamas, and there’s planes along the Treasure Coast that fly there so it makes kinda of sense. We’re one of the safest inlets here on the east coast. So now you have an opportunity to go by plane, so if we were to even event think ‘BrightLine’ and being able to travel from here to Orlando quickly, it’s going to be great for tourism.”

But Sweat cautions, there is still a long way to go before Sea Planes come to a landing on the Indian River Lagoon off Fort Pierce.

“As far as its good news, we still are laying the ground work, and those ‘t’s and ‘i’s, you know, they haven’t been crossed or dotted quit yet. So we’re really just in that beginning phase.”

Preliminary Plans:

  • Proposed upland facility to be able to handle 4 – 6 planes
  • Concrete ramp to be constructed to provide upland access from water

Permitting:

  • FAA approval granted for construction of Seaplane Base (3/21/22)
  • FDOT granted site approval on 3/31/22 – pending 45-day public notice period
  • This approval is valid for two years
  • FDEP/Army Corp is next permitting phase necessary for the in-water ramp.

Design:

  • AVCON, Inc, from Orlando is the planning and design firm being utilized by the City
  • Next step will be approving the proposal for engineering design and permitting for the construction of the facility.