NOKOMIS, Fla. - It's been more than a month since the North Jetty Fish Camp in Nokomis closed its doors, all while a new multi-million dollar concession stand sits empty and behind schedule. So what's causing the delay?
Ed Irons has worked at the fish camp for over 16 years. And even though it's closed and he's been out of a job waiting for it open, he still comes. "I come down and talk to the people because they are all upset because the place isn't open. The guys can't get bait."
When the camp closed on January 1st for new management, regulars like Al Gordon were told it would likely only be two weeks. "We sit around, and this our ‘liar’s bench’. We tell stories. We all miss that."
It’s not just regulars that are missing it. Stand there for a few minutes and you will see plenty coming up trying to figure out what's the deal.
Recently a hand-made temporary closed sign went up. “If I'm here for an hour in the afternoon, I'll see 20 to 30 people, just crying ‘Why? What's the hold up?’ I say ‘Call the county’," says regular Al Gordon.
So ABC 7 did. Curt Preisser with the county says the 1940's trolley car has run into some issues. "The trailer has been out there so long it predates a lot of the updated codes here in the state of Florida. The septic system needs to be inspected, which we have done. We have submitted it to the Department of Health."
The county now says they are close -- real close. "We anticipate the North Jetty Fish Camp being open by this weekend."
The new $1.4 million concession stand and restrooms currently sit quiet and empty, with seemingly no work going on.
Preisser says they're close there, too. “We are in the final stages. We are going through what we call the punch list with the contractor."
The county says weather delays and other issues holding back the build, which was initially included as a stimulus project.
Fish campers are hoping it's sooner rather than later. “We are definitely ready for it to open up."
We are now being told the new facility across the parking lot should be open by the end of the month.