Sanford hopes boat dock brings visitors, money to downtown

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SANFORD, Fla. - The city of Sanford has a plan to attract visitors who use a different way to get out and about.

Construction is set to start on a public boat dock on Lake Monroe, next to Veterans Memorial Park.
City officials hope more boaters means a steady stream of money.

Sanford taxpayers have paid millions in the past decade to make the city's downtown into what is today -- a local destination, for some.

Pizzeria owner Alfredo Colimodio said he has reaped the benefits.

"We're right here. The only restaurant on the water, and it has helped us a lot as far as business," said Colimodio.

But what some say is missing is a place where boaters can get downtown access for free.

That's why the city will spend $400,000 dollars in state grant money to build a public dock.

The dock will fit up to 10 boats a day, giving those on board a chance to spend time and money in downtown.

The marina industry in the state generates about $9 billion a year, according to state figures. The city hopes to bring the thousands of boaters on the St. Johns River to the heart of downtown.

"I don't see how it would not be successful if it is free to the city of Sanford. It's obviously state dollars which is needed to be used for recreation and health activities," said city planner Chris Smith.

City officials said they don't have any guesses on just how much business the dock will generate.

Boaters who spoke to Channel 9's Bianca Castro are receptive to the idea.

"We'll be able to tell people how exciting it is. How they can stop in, take a walk," said Paula Fulton of BMC Boats.

City officials said work on the public dock will begin immediately and it should be open to boaters in six months.