Could North Port warm mineral springs close? - WFLA News Channel 8

Could North Port warm mineral springs close?

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NORTH PORT, FL (WFLA) -

Warm Mineral Springs in North Port is one of those unique attractions that makes Florida so special.  But now it's caught in a legal mess, and there's a chance the springs could be shut down.  Some call it a fountain of youth.  One visitor said, "It's different, it's so relaxing and it actually does take care of any pain that you have."

Warm Mineral Springs is the only place of its kind in all of Florida. Take a dip and you'll see- the water's constantly around 87 degrees and many say its highly mineralized water has healing properties.  It's certainly been around a while- scientists say a human skull was found below dating back 10,000 years. But the attraction's future is in doubt.  North Port Mayor Linda Yates said,  "Unfortunately the clock is ticking."  Yates says her city and Sarasota county jointly own the property.

But now North Port wants out, and in June the contract will expire for a private company that runs the springs.  But Yates says the city and county can't agree on how the sale should go forward.  "We're at a standstill, we can't act independently of the county," said Yates.

Sarasota county made an offer to buy the rest of the property, but Yates says the city didn't like the terms, so it was rejected.  So now it's led to a mess- the private company's contract is set to expire, and North Port and the county can't agree on what to do next.  Yates says it's possible the springs could shut down.  "So now, the options are- do we shut it down, or do we maybe hire staff or even hire an independent contractor?" She asked. "What is gonna happen? I tend to keep an optimistic approach."

Yates says a short term solution is needed, but time is running short.  A county spokesman says commissioners are exploring available options to deal with this dispute.  Some ideas will be discussed at a meeting on February 26th.

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