Osprey group hopes for a new use for an old water tank

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OSPREY, Fla. – Some in Osprey are hoping for brighter days for an old abandoned water tank; a group called Friends of the Think Tank want to turn it into an arts center.

The county is in the process of fixing up Blackburn Point Park, and those plans could include tearing down the tank. Plants are overgrown around it, it's showing its age, and it hasn’t been used in decades.

However, some say it's built well, and with a little bit of imagination it could serve an important purpose once again.

Casey Key resident Mario Messina with the non-profit Friends of the Think Tank is pushing a plan to revitalize the county-owned structure. They want to turn it into an art center, studio, workshop, display, and concert area -- all of it overlooking Little Sarasota Bay.

“It's because it is there. It's already built, it's robust, it would probably withstand hurricanes and tornadoes," says Messina.

Tuesday, county commissioners are discussing the plan to update the amenities at Blackburn Point Park. The group is concerned demolition could soon be on the way -- something they say would be a waste. “What would it cost to put doors and windows in there? I don't know. It already has a floor, walls, and roof."

The group is actually giving it one last push. Formed more than a decade ago, it was able to get the county to hold off. It raised some funds through grants and donations, but had to give much of it back when momentum slowed.

“We got a lease from the county for one dollar a year, but it wasn't followed through because we had too many chiefs and no Indians."

It's not that far-fetched of an idea. The pump house next door has already been turned into the Casey Key Library.

Messina says they just need to get going. "We need to know what the cost is and see if Sarasota County wants to chip in and see how much money we need to raise."

Messina is hoping local arts organizations, commissioners and the community will come together to give it one last try before it's too late. "It would be a great opportunity to reach out and add some quality to this area."

Some county commissioners have expressed doubt about the tank’s potential fit in the new park plan there. The organization is hoping a little pressure from the public could go a long way.

If you would like to get involved in the fight to save the tank, contact the group via email at saveandprotect@aol.com.

Casey Key water tank