North Port Commissioner and residents oppose Warm Mineral Springs development
NORTH PORT, Fla. (WWSB) - North Port City Commissioner Debbie McDowell, along with several residents, opposed the P3 partnership that would bring future development to Warm Mineral Springs Park. At a commission meeting on July 25, the commission approved the partnership 4-1 with McDowell being the only one in opposition. She expressed concern over the fact they haven’t talked about the cost of rebuilding what’s already there.
“During the July workshop we were told that everything can be repaired. Well, if we use that logic, then why are we going to replace the utility building? Why are we going to replace the parks facility building?” asked McDowell. “If everything can be repaired, of course there is a cost involved with that, we haven’t had that conversation.”
McDowell wasn’t alone; During public comment, multiple residents spoke out.
“You are just going to come in and just plow over everything and save a little piece. It’s not enough. It’s really not enough,” said one resident.
McDowell additionally mentioned, there were other plans for Warm Mineral Springs Park before Hurricane Ian took a massive tole. Plans that she explained didn’t involved a public-private partnership.
“I love history. I love the historical value. I was on this board when we were adamant about getting the historical registry designation. Hurricane Ian ripped that rug right out from under us,” said McDowell.
City of North Port Mayor Barbara Langdon said there are still things that need to be discussed and worked out as the process continues. Langdon explained she truly doesn’t see any alternative.
“Given the potential cost, not just of sort of renovating the 23 acres, but bringing that 60-acre property to any reasonable level of quality so that people can enjoy it, is simply not within the financial ability of this city,” said Langdon.
A geotechnical survey of the proposed building areas, real estate and investment evaluations, negotiations, a draft agreement with the developer for consideration by the commission, and changing the Comprehensive Plan Amendment to account for medium-intensity development, still need to be completed.
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