FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Aug. 8, 2013
DEP KEEPS COMMUNITY UPDATED ON SILVER SPRINGS TRANSITION TO STATE PARK SYSTEM
~Wednesday night meeting offered status of transition of property becoming a state park~
OCALA - The Florida Department of
Environmental Protection's Florida Park Service held a public meeting on
Wednesday to update the public on the
transition of the Silver Springs Attraction to Florida's system of
award-winning state parks.
"Following approval by the
Governor and Cabinet in January 2013 for Silver Springs to become part of the
state park system, we committed to involving the community in recreation opportunity
decisions and continue our efforts of improving water quality in Silver
Springs, one of Florida's most iconic treasures," said Donald Forgione,
DEP’s Florida Park Service Director. ”This meeting was part of honoring that
commitment. We were pleased to share the progress being made in the
transition of the property and welcoming it into our family of
resource-based recreation areas and historic and cultural sites.”
Approximately 80 people attended the
meeting where officials provided information on the Silver Springs basin management action plan; the ongoing design, repair and renovation activities
being carried out on the Silver Springs attraction property; and the process
for the land management plan for the Silver
Park and the Silver Springs attraction. Public
comments were accepted at the meeting and attendees were able to ask topic
specific questions at stations set up around Fort King Presbyterian Church.
Department water quality staff presented plans for
the restoration plan for Silver Spring and the steps being taken to ensure
water quality and quantity for the Silver Spring and Silver River.
A meeting is scheduled for Aug. 21.
staff reported on the engineering designs, repair and renovation work that has
taken place on site to-date. Completed projects include the entry boardwalk
into the park, repair of wood rot and painting of some buildings. Invasive
exotic plants have been treated and removed from formal gardens and natural
landscapes. Repairs to the glass bottom boats are underway. In addition,
engineering design and permitting has been completed for stormwater
improvements, including reducing impervious surface, reshaping for better water
flow and cleaning out existing ponds. New ponds will be added with more contour
to integrate into the natural landscape.
The park will open on Oct.1 as part of the
award-winning Florida State Park System. The entrance fee will be $5 for
individuals or $8 per vehicle, up to 8 people, good for both Silver Springs and
State Park. Hours will be 8 a.m.
to sunset, 365 days per year. Negotiations are underway to find a vendor to offer
food service, a gift shop, boat tours, canoe and kayak rentals, a concert
series and special events. A vendor is still sought to operate the Wild Waters water
park, which is expected to open next spring.
will expand as facilities are renovated and the public can safely use them. All
activities and facilities will not be available when the park opens.The lease with Palace Entertainment, which is running the property, ends Sept. 30. Wednesday's meeting was the fourth the Department has held to inform the community about Silver Springs.