Temporary plan to reopen spring to swimmers voted down

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Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 4:43 pm | Updated: 4:34 pm, Mon Feb 24, 2014.

NORTH PORT, Fla. – Sarasota County commissioners heard the latest and made a decision on Warm Mineral Springs Tuesday.

An agreement with a local company to operate the springs for the next year has fallen apart. North Port commissioners have already voted to move on. Tuesday, county leaders agreed.

They voted down a plan 3-2 to hire temporary employees to allow guest to get in and swim. Now it's in the hands of city leaders to possibly start a long term plan.

"I ultimately think a long term resolution to Warm Mineral Springs will be in the best interests of everyone. Then we won't have to worry about a future closure,” says Sarasota County commissioner Christine Robinson.

That means the springs will be closed longer to visitors. The attraction was closed on July 1st after county and city leaders were unable to come to an agreement on how to take over the popular spring that they purchased jointly two and a half years before.

The site had functioned as a spa since the 1960s, and is considered an important geological and archaeological site. Over the years the remains of many humans and animals have been excavated from the site. Wilburn Cockrell, an archaeologist at Florida State University, found an 11,000 year old human skeleton in a fetal position, apparently placed in a crevice with broken stalactites holding it in place possibly making it the oldest known intentional human burial in North America.

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