Manatee park closes during shutdown - WFLA News Channel 8

Manatee park closes during shutdown

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MANATEE COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

The effects of the government shutdown are being felt all over the Tampa Bay area.

DeSoto National Memorial near Bradenton is completely closed and most of its employees were furloughed.

Visitors were not happy about it.

The 25 acre park just west of Bradenton commemorates the landing of Hernando DeSoto. The Spanish conquistador is known for exploring the southeastern United States, and he first arrived somewhere around Tampa Bay in 1539, but you won't be able to take a look at this possible landing spot. The gates were locked and signs blocked entrances. Visitors had to go back home.

"It's stupid, that's what it is!” said one man.

“The park is completely shut down,” said DeSoto National Memorial Park Superintendent Jorge Acevedo.

Right now, Acevedo is the only employee left. He's keeping an eye out on the grounds because his eight employees were furloughed.

Acevedo said, "I certainly feel the government should resume as promptly as it can its normal operation. I'm just here to make sure when that happens, we're ready to go back to work.”

Acevedo says the park gets hundreds of visitors this time of year, visitors like Jennifer Jerome. She takes her kids here and often comes through during her morning jog.

But when she arrived today she was in such disbelief, she snapped a photo.

Jerome said, "I was surprised. I really wasn't thinking the government shutdown was really going to affect me."

Many squarely place the blame on elected leaders.

Visitor Jerry Disbrow said, "They're in there just playin’ political games, throwing road blocks in the obstruction of the growth of the country and hurting the poor people and the people who pay their taxes while they're sitting back getting a paycheck doing nothing."

It's a small national park that's playing a role in a big nationwide issue.

Jerome said, “I’m thinking of the people that work here. That’s their livelihoods. I’m inconvenienced with I don’t get a water fountain, but how about the people that this is their job and they’re wondering what do they do?”

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