Aquarium Project Moves Forward
REDINGTON SHORES – The lease is complete and construction is expected to begin soon on the $5 million Secrets of the Sea Marine Exploration Center at John’s Pass Village in Madeira Beach.
E. Howard Rutherford, president and CEO of the facility, told members of the Barrier Island Governmental Council Jan. 25 that plans are moving along to close The Pier Aquarium and open the new 12,500-square-foot attraction on Dec. 12.
Rutherford said a $1 million endowment for the sustainability of the project has been received and efforts to raise the remainder of the necessary funding are about half complete.
“This is an attraction that will not just attract people but will educate as well,” said Patty Hubbard, chief financial officer of Hubbard Properties. “It will enhance our community and put us on the world map as far as what we can provide our visitors.”
Plans call for the L-shaped building to use space on the north and west sides of the JPV building. Unlike most other aquariums, the new facility will showcase marine research and technology of the St. Petersburg Ocean Team to give the public a better understanding of what lies beneath the surface of the sea.