Crystal River cannot have enough manatees.
Save Crystal River (SCR) started Manatee Fever not only to raise money for the rehabilitation of King’s Bay by the nonprofit organization, but also to stimulate participation and exploration within the city.
“That should put us on the map,” said SCR Treasurer Terry Thompson, promoting the project to Crystal River City Council on Monday, November 8.
SCR hopes to raise enough money to create between 10 and 15 5-foot-tall fiberglass manatees that local artists can paint with designs personalized by the owner of a sculpture.
Subsequently, SCR will use these monuments as points of interest for visitors to Crystal River to find while traveling through the city.
SCR is looking for at least 10 people to sign a letter agreeing to be part of Manatee Fever. Once SCR has its letters of commitment, the project begins.
Thompson told The Chronicle on Wednesday that seven letters were in hand.
Want to get involved? Contact Thompson at 352-895-3561 or [email protected]
For more information on Save Crystal River and its King’s Bay restoration project, visit sauvecristalriver.com.
These personalized marine mammals each cost $ 7,500, which is reimbursed by their owners in three installments of $ 2,500 throughout the project.
Once SCR makes the first round of payments, it will build manatee molds made from a composite of fiberglass and resin. The owners of the sculptures will then randomly draw the name of their artist who will be responsible for painting their respective manatee.
A second payment of $ 2,500 covers the cost of the design, which also includes a plaque with the manatee’s name, the name of its owner and business, the name of its painter and Save Crystal River.
Once the artists have completed their work, the third and final payment becomes due.
Afterward, SCR will be showcasing the Manatee Sculptors at a Crystal River Main Street First Friday event in Town Square so the public can vote on their top three designs.
SCR will use favorites to create promotional T-shirts.
The money was not used to pay for the manatee mussels and artists will go to SCR’s general fund to keep its restoration project permit and shovel ready.
“We’re just trying to stay one step ahead,” Thompson said of SCR’s continued efforts to rejuvenate the bottom of the bay with native eelgrass, “that’s why we’re pursuing this.”