Tarpon Springs Plans Sponge Dock Improvements

Residents of Tarpon Springs, the future of the beloved Sponge Docks is in your hands.

Dedicating approximately $1 million toward a community outreach improvement project, the City of Tarpon Springs has hired locally based Hoffman Architects to work with the community to develop a conceptual design for the docks.

Currently, the two-phase project is in its beginning stages -- the “Public Involvement and Preliminary Design” phase -- as Hoffman Architects holds interviews and workshops with various stakeholders, boaters, shrimpers, spongers and merchants throughout the area.

“Our goal is to get their input on what they think is needed -- their vision, concerns and what they'd like to see,” says Todd Willsie, senior architect at Hoffman Architects. “Taking all the information we've received, we've started doing some master planning.”

While Willsie and the rest of the Hoffman Architects crew works on a design for the docks, a community workshop will be held on Thursday, Feb. 9, at the Tarpon Springs Heritage Museum at Craig Park. The second workshop dedicated to this project, design concepts will be presented to the public before moving onto Phase II.

“Our goal is to bring more outsiders into the area,” Willsie says. “We want people to hang out down there longer, ultimately spending more money. A big goal in Tarpon is obviously to keep it on the map. It's always been a big tourist destination.”

Phase II of the project will focus on the actual improvement design, working drawings and specifications.

“We're trying to determine whether or not we should concentrate the city's money into one area or spread it out, master planning the whole thing and just improving the important parts now,” Willsie says. “One thing we'll focus on at the meeting is assigning dollar values and then we'll let the public decide what's important.”

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Todd Willsie, Hoffman Architects
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