A large, underused waterfront park in Melbourne could soon be getting a major facelift and an economic boost in the area that is trying to rebound.
Riverview Park will be the centerpiece of what is hoped to be revitalization along U.S. 1, which sits just south of the downtown area.
The area could be a hub for recreation, like fishing, jogging or biking, and could eventually host large events like boat regattas.
"Bring some new life to the park, bring some new life into the area," said Cindy Dittmer, the planning and economic development director for the city of Melbourne. "Bring some new recreational activities."
The city of Melbourne bought the park from Brevard County in 2012. At the time, the goal of the purchase was to bring new life into the 15-acre park, but it remains underused three years later.
There are a handful of picnic tables, benches and old-style swing sets. But for the most part, the large plot of land is empty except for some trees and overgrown bushes that line the water.
The plans call for a $6 million redevelopment project, including a boardwalk, splash pad, fishing pier, sand volleyball court and better water access for windsurfing and kiteboarding.
There has been some cleanup work done so far on the area of prime waterfront.
"All of a sudden, you begin to see the water again from the park because for many years, you couldn't even see the water," Dittmer said. "Now, when you drive down there, even though we haven't done anything physical yet, just the view that's there in the park now is great."
Melbourne officials are trying to push people to live in downtown Melbourne. The soon-to-be-built, nine-story waterfront condo buildings along U.S. 1 just down the street from the park are part of the lure to have nice parks just steps away.
To get Phase 1 of the project underway, the city has applied for a $200,000 state grant. If approved, work could begin this year.