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Short History of Property Dedicated by Master Deed as "City Park" Forever By Sally Maio, former City Clerk

In 1932 City Council suggested certain lots in Carroll-Roberts subdivision in the area of

River Drive and Main Street be taken over for a park and passed a Resolution

irrevocably dedicating and designating that area of Carroll-Roberts subdivision as a City

Park to be used as such forever, and in 1934 adopted Resolution No. 138 officially

dedicating and designating that tract of land near City Hall (old bank building) again

stating it should be a City Park to be used as such forever.

Throughout Council minutes from those early days it is clear that "City Park" was the

center of City activity both for government, holiday and recreational activities. It was the

heart of Sebastian.

In 1947 with WWII behind them, Council got back to work on rejuvenating City Park by

adding lights and playing fields, began planning for a new City Hall (which would take

over ten years to come to fruition) and repairing, patching and sanding City Streets.

This is the first year in the records of the City of annual December donations to buy

candy for the children and a tree had been planted and was the focal point for

Christmas celebrations.

In the late 1940s plans began for construction of a new city hall to be located in City

Park and in 1956 the old Bank building would be demolished to make way for a newly

widened and relocated thoroughfare for US Highway One. The new City Hall and fire

station were erected on the northwest corner of the property in 1958, and that building is

now the Sebastian Area Chamber of Commerce.

In 1965 Council passed a motion for the City to purchase 1.15 acres of submerged

bottomland in Carroll-Roberts subdivision (City Park area adjacent to City Hall) (this

would become Main street boat ramp and pier eventually).

In 1975 Council sought approval from the State Internal Improvement Trust Fund with a

request to fill submerged land at the east end of Main Street in City Park to construct a

dock, seawall, and boat ramp. Mayor Pat Flood attended meetings in Tallahassee to solicit support for the city marina project and said he felt certain the City would get permits for work at Riverside Park (City Park), thought there was good chance of getting a boat ramp and would ask for $50,000 the next year to build the dock and finish the park.

He soon proudly displayed a permit from ITF for a seawall, boat ramp, and concrete pier

at the end of Main St. and stated it was a small piece of paper for 1-1/2 years of work.

The boat ramp and fishing pier were approved with grant funding and Mayor Flood

announced the ramp would open officially on March 15, 1975 with a dedication ceremony to be scheduled. 

The dedication took place in 1978 and it was dedicated in the name of Capt. Robert G. Hardee. 

A playground within the perimeters of the City Park was later named for City Clerk

Colonel A. T. Jordan. 

In 1983 City Hall was relocated to the old 1927 schoolhouse on Main Street previously

owned by Indian River County which they offer to the City in exchange for 32+ acres

deeded to the City by GDC which the County will use for a new school, Eventually the

Volunteer Fire station is moved to a building that is now Mel Fisher's museum. In later

years Indian River County will consolidate fire and emergency services for the entire

county under their jurisdiction. 

The former City Hall building in City Park first becomes a north county library, a teen center, briefly a Utilities Department, then a shared Sebastian Chamber of Commerce and Sebastian Historical Society museum.

Following the opening of the new City Hall in 2004, the Sebastian Area Historical

Society is given space on the first floor of the old schoolhouse as a museum, and the

Chamber of Commerce is given a long term lease for the old 1957 City Hall in City Park.

Fast forward to 2007 when the City Council decides to move forward with a boat parking

lot for the Main Street Pier. Grants were sought and awarded from Florida Inland

Navigation District (FIND) in the amount of $487,532.00 for the Main Street Boat Ramp

Trailer Parking Acquisition project on a vote of 4-1.

In 2008 the City sought grant funding from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation

Commission, Florida Boating Improvement Program for the boat trailer parking lot

project with an idea to realign Indian River Drive to the west to accommodate the lot.

That vote passed on a vote of 3-2. Council later added an expenditure of up to $1M

transferred from the Community Redevelopment fund to the Council for further

management of the project. That vote also passed 3-2.

During lengthy discussions on the parking lot project, mention was made of the old City

Park which was never to change as well as the old Hardee Oak which could be affected

by this lot. The project engineer was asked to show a current aerial of the existing

Jordan Park with parking areas. The City Attorney when asked stated none of this

project was within an historic district. The engineer displayed the existing Chamber

building, proposed parking, Mrs. Sullivan's Harbor Lights property and the proposed

realigned Indian River Drive in response to concerns.

Following lengthy conversations to address these concerns, the parking lot project was

approved though not unanimously and the project was awarded to H & D Construction

of Ft. Pierce in the amount of $1,193,903. Indian River Drive was realigned and moved

further west to accommodate the boat trailer parking lot at the ramp, and the Hardee Oak was protected.

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