NORTH PORT, Fla. - After two and a half months of being shut down, it appears Warm Mineral Springs in North Port will soon reopen. Tuesday, Sarasota County commissioners agreed with North Port on a short term lease of the facilities and spring.
Since July 1st, those arriving at the spring have been greeted with a sign saying the spring is closed. Local leaders and the man who now taking over believe the sign could come down shortly.
In the short term, Dr. Grigory Progrebinsky and the WMS Sarasota Management Company will be running the springs. "The decision is fair. I think we were the best candidate to operate the spring."
"I am very pleased. This is hitting the reset button for the City of North Port and Sarasota County. I am optimistic that since we came together on the short term, I know we can come together on the long term plan for Warm Mineral Springs," says county commissioner Christine Robinson.
The plan is to get it back open to the public while the two sides once again try to hammer out a long range plan. The spring has been shuttered for more than two months.
"We need to get some public input and some private input on what they can do there. Then our work will start," says North Port commissioner Jim Blucher.
That long term future could be those who were just awarded the short term bid. Dr. Progrebinsky specializes in rehab medicine and says he knows a lot about the healing qualities of the mineral water. He also just happens to own nearly 20 acres adjacent to the spring property. "We would like to build a wellness center and hotel," says Dr. Progrebinsky.
In the meantime, Tuesday's decision could put some of the 40+ workers who lost their jobs, like Elizabeth Ellis, back to work. "Not all of them could wait, but some of them are still available. We would love to come back."
And coming back may be something happening very soon. “We need probably five working days to make it accessible to the people," says Progrebinsky.
Now that's five days after some more background work. If all goes well, it's likely the spring would be back open by the first of October.