The Central Coast Aquarium has managed to gather $19,000 of the $38,200 it needs to move forward with the architectural plans for a revamped Morro Bay Aquarium.
Executive Director of the Central Coast Aquarium Christine Johnson said if they are able to get the remaining funding needed, it will pay for the plans that will later be used for the larger capital campaign.
“What we don’t have now are costs. So we have some really loose estimates about what it would cost to re-develop but a waterfront site is very expensive and there will be a need to modernize,” Johnson said.
The aquarium is in need of exterior and interior updates. Expanding the harbor walk project and installing public restrooms are among the many things that not only will be needed but mandated.
Morro Bay business owner Richard Strassel supports the redevelopment and said he sees the possible renovation as a great opportunity for a state-of-the-art educational aquarium.
“We do see a lot of kids coming through our novelty store and kids and parents are asking about the aquarium,” Strassel said. “I have to tell them that it’s been closed, but not to worry that there is a new aquarium in the works.”
Central Coast Aquarium, the City of Morro Bay, and Cal Poly are all invested in this project.
Morro Bay City Manager Scott Collins says the city is helping out as much as possible.
“What we are bringing to the table is our resources to be able to assist in the funding,” Collins said.
Collins also mentioned that many of those who work in the Morro Bay tourism industry want to see new attractions be established to attract more people to come and stay in the area.