Does Sebastian Need More Parks or Bars?

Sebastian could build more parks if people use them. We know they will definitely use the bars. Photo: Andy Hodges
Sebastian could build more parks if people use them. We know they will definitely use the bars. Photo: Andy Hodges

SEBASTIAN – Last week, we asked the question “does Sebastian need more parks or bars” and were flooded with responses.

The parks and bars were almost evenly split, but a lot of people wanted to see more bars inside parks.

The question comes after the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC), a regional forum located in Stuart (Martin County), think the City of Sebastian should update its master plan for parks.

“They think we should have so many parks for so many residences. That’s ok if people are using the parks,” someone familiar with the regional council who spoke on condition of anonymity told Sebastian Daily.

“It’s really about people making these decisions who don’t live in Sebastian. Stay out of Indian River County, and we’ll decide what we need,” the source said.

The TCRPC is a forum where elected and appointed leaders regularly come together to discuss issues. It operates a number of programs and services for regional planning and economic development designed to satisfy the needs of its public and private sector customers.

The not-for-profit organization was established in 1976 through an interlocal agreement between Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, and Palm Beach counties. Membership includes all four counties and 51 municipalities.

The regional forum was created by and for local governments to provide planning and technical assistance services and assist in carrying out Florida’s growth management programs.

The members and alternates of this forum from Indian River County are also interesting. Here are their names:

  • Sebastian City Council Member Ed Dodd
  • County Commissioner Joseph Flescher
  • County Commissioner Susan Adams
  • County Commissioner Peter O’Bryan
  • Vero Beach City Council Member Anthony Young
  • Town of Indian River Shores Council Member Bob Auwaerter
  • County Commissioner Tim Zorc
  • Town of Orchid Mayor Harold Ofstie

The names above are just for Indian River County. There are also members in Palm Beach County, Martin County, and St. Lucie County.

There shouldn’t be anything wrong with a regional not-for-profit organization to help us build more parks for Sebastian, right? Well, a lot of people we spoke with don’t want a forum in Stuart telling Sebastian what to do about parks. And, they don’t want to be told that there are too many bars either.

Sebastian has some of the best entertainment in the world along the river, and not everyone drinks alcohol to enjoy this entertainment.

Places like Captain Hiram’s Sandbar, Earl’s Hideaway Lounge, and Tiki Bar & Grill are great places to sit by the river to have lunch or dinner and enjoy the bands. Not everyone drinks, but almost everyone loves the entertainment.

You can go to the Tiki Bar & Grill on most nights and see kids playing
Cornhole while their parents are watching the band. People have been doing this for years; this is what a lot of locals do.

If Sebastian updates its Master Plan for parks, because a forum in Stuart said so, there’s no guarantee that people will use them. It could be a waste of money.

Most people have told Sebastian Daily that we have plenty of parks already that people don’t use. We even have dog parks, and trails for running.

Some people told us they would rather see money go into updating the parks we already have.

With so many names listed as members of TCRPC from Indian River County, it would seem like we have plenty of local officials to decide for ourselves what we need.

“Sebastian doesn’t take direction from the TCRPC. If and when we decide to update our Master Plan for Parks, we may go to them for technical assistance in the planning process. All ideas would come from the residents of Sebastian and TCRPC would simply compile these ideas into a plan,” Mayor Jim Hill told Sebastian Daily.

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About Andy Hodges
Andy Hodges was born in Annapolis, Maryland and raised in Jupiter, Florida. Andy has been a radio & TV personality since the 1980s. He has worked for WLIZ, WFLX-FOX 29, WIRK, WIXI, WKSY, WRMF, and WJNO to name a few. After spending 7 years in Atlanta, Georgia during the 1990s, Andy returned to Florida and settled in the small town of Sebastian in 2000. In 2005, he returned to the broadcasting news sector and eventually joined our news team in 2016 as editor in chief. Andy's family has lived in Sebastian for more than 45 years.