NORTH PORT, Fla. - The constant 87-degree water at Warm Mineral Springs in North Port is expected to soon be open to the public once again. This week local government leaders agreed on a temporary management company.
Potential employees were even showing up there Friday. The new management company tells ABC 7 that once they are in place they plan to quickly open the doors.
It's the latest chapter in the ongoing saga surrounding Warm Mineral Springs. This week North Port city and Sarasota County commissioners selected a company called National and State Park Concessions to manage the springs for now.
"We basically want to get the facilities back open to the general public for bathing and swimming." Owner Jack Bobo says they've already got the uniforms and blank name tags, and are interviewing new employees Friday and Saturday at the springs. "Right now we are expecting 13 people; full time and part time. We are doing lifeguards, housekeeping, front of the house stuff."
"I am applying for a lifeguard position again." Wayne Christensen was one of 60+ employees who lost their jobs when the springs closed on July 1st of 2013 -- not from lack of visitors, but from the two local governments unable to come with an agreement on the spring’s future. "I have been on unemployment since July looking for a job. We are really excited to see this place open back up, especially with a family owned company."
For now we are told there will not be some of the amenities like yoga and aerobics, just swimming.
Blue Dunn taught some of the classes for years. He says the loss has been felt in the community. "There was a lot of people who this was their life. This was their whole social life for the most part. A lot of them relied on it for the healing qualities of this water."
The local business community felt the effects, too. They’re hopeful to soon give better news to visitors like Marian Komor and his wife, who came to the area just for the springs. "I am very disappointed. We came from Canada. My wife was swimming here a couple of years back for her health."
As far as the long term future goes, well that's anyone's guess at this point. Bobo says that will be a new bid. While they’re working to keep it open for now, they say they will be looking at it. "We are looking at it. We don't know if we are going to move forward with it or not. We are definitely going to take a look at it."
A target date of mid-April has been set. The management company tells us they are hoping to work even quicker.