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Marina sold, new owners plan expansion

An Arkansas company has bought the Landing at Tarpon Springs on the north bank of the Anclote River and plans to expand the marina with new floating docks and twice as much dry storage space.

The Seabass Marine Corp., which consists of Merle and Sue Seamon and Ned and Vicky Bass, bought the marina Nov. 1 from Gary Upchurch's KG Marina Inc. for $2.7-million, Mrs. Seamon said.

The two couples had been looking to buy a marina in Florida for more than two years and had considered Fort Myers and Marathon, among other places, before settling on the marina at the corner of Oscar Hill Road and Alt. U.S. 19.

"We love it," Mrs. Seamon said, praising the location for its view of Tarpon Springs and ready access to the Gulf of Mexico. "This area is just awesome."

The new owners have leased the marina's restaurant to restaurateur Bob Penrod. Mrs. Seamon said he will open a casual waterfront restaurant in mid December.

"We're building out a second deck so we can have more outside seating that will overlook the water," she said. "I think that will be an attraction for people to come out and have dinner and look at the most beautiful sunsets."

The marina now has about 26 wet boat slips and 170 dry-stack spaces. The fixed docks will be replaced with floating docks with space for about 30 boats, and the dry storage will be rearranged to have space for about 350 boats, Mrs. Seamon said.

The new owners also plan to put a new teal-colored metal roof on the marina "so it looks better from the Sponge Docks," she said.

"We'd like to attract some charter fishing boats in here . . . maybe have a small fleet of boats and have an area where they can clean the fish and show people the catch of the day," she said.

The Seamons have moved to Tarpon Springs from Little Rock, Ark. The Basses will continue to live in Arkansas, where they run the Brady Mountain Resort, a 200-acre lakefront resort with 800 boat slips and a lodge.

Merle Seamon's other business interests include a landscape architecture and planning firm that specializes in park and recreational projects, including zoos, gardens and resorts. The firm has designed zoo exhibits for the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago and Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa.

Seamon plans to open a branch office of the design firm at the marina.

_ Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report, which includes material from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Staff writer Richard Danielson can be reached at (727) 445-4194.