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Eustis seeks watercraft rental business for revamped lakefront downtown

Eustis seeks watercraft rental business for revamped lakefront downtown
A view of the walkways and boat docks in downtown Eustis, near Ferran Park. (Teresa Burney)

With its lakefront park improvements nearly complete, including repairs to floating docks, the City of Eustis is seeking requests for proposals for a water recreation rental business at downtown's Ferran Park.

It's the latest initiative by a city that's taken multiple steps this year to boost the allure of its downtown, and the area's real estate value as a consequence. Those include an RFP in April to lease a 1,500-square-foot building adjacent to the lakefront, and a city-backed marketing effort in July of 4.8 undeveloped acres in downtown, paired with Tax Increment Financing and impact fee credits.

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"The city has made a significant investment in Ferran Park, including the addition of a new playground and splash pad. We are seeking to partner with a boat rental operator to further promote our waterfront and downtown area," said Eustis Economic Development Director Tom Carrino. "We anticipate that boat rentals will help create more positive activity in our downtown area and attract more visitors to support our local businesses."

The city is looking for qualified respondents willing to enter into a franchise agreement with the city to operate for a variety of marine uses, including rentals of canoe, kayak, sail boat, power boat, bass boat, pontoon boat, jet skis and other water recreational equipment from the city docks.

The business would cater to recreation for the general public and tourists.

Interested parties need to file their sealed proposals by 3 p.m. on Sept. 28. A pre-proposal meeting is scheduled for 10:30 a.m., Sept. 14.

A minimum equal to 3 percent of the gross revenue every quarter would be provided by the operator to the city.

The franchise would give access to three over-night boat slips on the far end of the city-owned dock in front of the Community Center for watercraft storage. The city also promise's to install, at its expense, a lockable gate at the end of the dock. The franchisee and the city would each have a key.

The franchisee will have also have use of a ten-foot by ten-foot space on the shore of Lake Eustis in front of the Community Center for temporary storage of materials, racks for watercraft and trailers.

The city is in the process of repairing the floating docks this week, and scheduled to be finished by the second week in October.

Questions regarding specifications should be directed to Purchasing Director Tracy Jeanes.

Teresa Burney can be reached at 352-455-1955 or at Teresaburney4@gmail.com. Follow GrowthSpotter on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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