Historic Sponge Docks Set for Makeover

Tarpon Springs’ iconic Sponge Docks and Dodecanese Boulevard are getting a facelift, thanks to a $1,000,000 pledge from the city. The docks have been operating since 1925, with 13 boats currently harvesting sponges from the Anclote River, and a host of Greek businesses and Greek-themed events established in the neighborhood.

Sue Thomas, President of the Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce, says the city plans to preserve the area’s Greek style and heritage but still give it an update.

An artist's rendering of the new Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs.

“It’s a major tourist destination because where else can you go without a passport and wander into Greece?” Thomas says, pointing out that the goal is to keep the Greek influence but to revitalize the area with new flowers and trees, paint and tile maintenance.

Project architect Eddie Hoffman has met with everyone from the docks’ tour boat operators to merchants to elicit ideas for the revitalization, which may include an observation tower that looks out over the river and a paved area in front of the old sponge exchange for events. Thomas says another idea on the table is to create more attractions for families.

Already completed are new bathrooms at the West End, which Thomas hopes will draw more attention to that side of the docks. While still in the concept stage, the renovation is inspired by the approach on the Greek Islands, says Thomas, where even the oldest of buildings are treated to a total clean-up every year in preparation for tourist season.

For more on the project, visit ImagineTheDocks.com.

To return to this issue of CVBeat, click here.

About CVBeat

Visit St. Pete/Clearwater is the official destination marketing organization for Pinellas County, Florida.
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