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The city of Tavares is preparing to issue requests for professional help to rebuild the city's downtown floating docks, and to conduct a feasibility study for a new performing arts center.

"Probably, within the next 30 to 45 days, both will be out there," economic development director Bob Tweedie told GrowthSpotter on Wednesday.

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Hurricane Irma hit downtown Tavares hard, tearing out its floating seaplane docks, damaging its ramp and putting fuel pumps out of commission until recently.

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The city is back in the Seaplane Base business, but is still missing its floating docks where the planes can tie up without coming out of the water.

Irma essentially destroyed them all, but Tweedie says he expects the seaplane base to recover completely from the damage and come back better, thanks to the city's insurance policy, which has a "betterment" clause that allows the city to not only fix what was damaged, but also offers extra compensation to make it better. Tweedie said he is looking for new construction that would better withstand storms like Irma.

By the end of December, Tweedie expects to have a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) issued seeking a design-build firm for the reconstruction of the seaplane base and marina.

The city expects to have a second proposal out soon as well, likely an RFQ for professional services to conduct a feasibility study for whether to build a performing arts center in Tavares.

That study is planned to be extensive, looking at everything from where to put it, if would be a good complement to a renovated library, potential seating capacity, other uses for the building and how to fund it.

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"We are starting with a feasibility study that will determine whether it's feasible or not (to build a performing arts center in the town),"  Tweedie said.

An assessment would be done to determine where the funds to build the facility would come from, as well and whether the community could support a performing arts center and provide the revenue needed to maintain it long-term.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Teresa Burney can be reached at 352-455-1955 or at Teresaburney4@gmail.com. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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