Vero City Council considers lease with Youth Sailing Foundation

VERO BEACH — Local youth interested in getting their feet wet in the sport of sailing could soon have a permanent base from which to launch their journey.

The City Council Tuesday will consider entering into a lease agreement with the Youth Sailing Foundation of Indian River County for 31,400 square feet of property that includes a 3,700-square-foot metal building at the city’s Wastewater Treatment facility on 17th Street. The building, on the south side of the property next to a canal and away from the treatment plant, is not being used by the city and was scheduled to be demolished.

The facility will be used to instruct youths participating in the foundation’s sailing program as well as to build and store boats used by them.

The proposed lease is for an initial five-year period with the foundation paying $25 per month the first two years, $50 monthly in the third year, $75 per month in year four and $100 per month in the fifth year.

The foundation also will have to pay other fees, including utility costs and provide insurance.

The volunteer organization has been successful in attracting a growing number of youths into the activity and has outgrown the space where they had been allowed to keep some of their vessels at the city’s marina, according to Charlie Pope, director of the nonprofit organization.

Children ages 7-15 with the assistance of adult volunteers build and learn to sail 8-foot wooden boats. The organization, which accepts donations through its website at, can use public support when it comes to operating costs at the new facility as well as other expenses. Pope noted insurance the organization will have to pay for at the city facility will cost about $115 per month.

The group also will have to do some other maintenance work, including painting, at the building, said Pope, if the council agrees to the lease. The organization also plans to install a floating dock and launch ramp at the property.

Money to cover operating expenses “is probably what we need more than anything,” said Pope.

At one time, the group had sought to lease a 20-by-20-foot section of land near the Riverhouse, at the south end of Bob Summers Park, to store its boats. Later, the group revised its request to a 20-by-50-foot section of the park as more youths signed up for the program.

Pope said the organization has more than 40 students and the building they are looking to use has a shop area where students can construct the boats as well as a classroom.

“We can have 20 students in the classroom and 20 in the water,” he said.

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