North Port to open Warm Mineral Springs Park “as expeditiously as possible”

The City of North Port held a special meeting to discuss the reopening of Warm Mineral Springs...
The City of North Port held a special meeting to discuss the reopening of Warm Mineral Springs Park.(Jace Harper)
Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 7:33 PM EST

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The City of North Port held a special meeting to discuss the reopening of Warm Mineral Springs Park.

The park closed on Sept. 27 after suffering damage from Hurricane Ian. According to the city, the buildings on the property were deemed unsafe for people to use.

The plan brought to the table by the City Manager held an estimated opening at the end of April. After much discussion the commission decided to pass a motion to require the City Manger to “move as expeditiously as possible”, with no deadline defined.

The two major requirements for opening the springs were finding a modular building in which the city could conduct business at the park, and finding a portable restroom for hygienic purposes.

This coming off the heels of the commission passing another motion to terminate the city’s contract with the National and State Park Concessions which took care of the operations of the park, even after a spokesperson from that company offered to absorb the cost of the reopening.

James Stawser is a frequent swimmer at the springs. Strawser said he’s concerned about the revenue loss for the city and was hoping they’d find a way to get it open sooner than later.

“The idea that it’s going to be closed— some dates were April or early May if the city finds the staff and pays for the modular units and stuff like that,” said Strawser. “It’s very challenging to bring in the revenue because it is our peak season as the snow birds and tourists come in and want to enjoy the springs. The revenue and that multiplier of the dollar value is going to go down incredibly for the revenue this year of Warm Mineral Springs.”

Mayor Barbara Langdon explained the city is bound by certain protocols and procedures tying their hands for a swift reopening.

“We were talking earlier about the speed at which government moves or doesn’t move. It’s just a fact that government is built for accountability and transparency and not for speed,” said Langdon. “We have certain processes and things that we have to do by law. Within the law we will move as quickly as we can to reopen the springs.”