City of North Port prepares for Warm Mineral Springs protest – WWSB

NORTH PORT, Fla. (WWSB) – Advocates of the Warm Mineral Springs in North Port said they aren’t happy with the city’s plans. On Friday at 4 o’clock they plan on holding a peaceful protest outside of the North Port City Hall.
In 2019 the city established a plan for the Warm Mineral Springs Park. The plans included things like a campground with cabins, a large place for bird watching, a community garden, and an event pavilion.
The newly proposed plan involves a private partner called the Warm Mineral Spring Development Group and includes a resort and spa, a residential area, and a restaurant.
While advocates like Jeremy Bluvol and Jenna Slater understand the need for a private partner, they would like the city to find one that aligns more with the original 2019 plan.
“Right now what’s happening is this private partner is coming in and saying, ‘We’re going to put in money to renovate the existing buildings and in return, you’re going to have to lease us for 99 years the remaining 60 acres which we plan to build all of these massive buildings on,’ and we don’t necessarily think that needs to happen,” said Bluvol
Slater added, “People are really worried that the Warm Mineral Spring Development Group does not have the interests of the spring, the environment, or the community at hand. It’s really out of touch with the area and doesn’t really fit the demographic or the reason that people come to the spring.”
North Port City Manager Jerome Fletcher explained the original plan would’ve cost the city a lot more money than they anticipated. As a result, they decided to go in search of a private partner who would help them upgrade the park, as well as maintain it for the future.
After a few development groups sent in their proposals, they decided the Warm Mineral Springs Development Group aligned the best with their vision.
“We have an obligation to make sure not only the historical assets are preserved, but also the archeological component is encouraged. Then at the same time—[appease] the residents in the city who don’t want to pay more taxpayer dollars. So, we have an obligation to be innovative and creative in a way that allows us to bring in and leverage other revenues from those outside of this city and country who want to come there.” Fletcher said.
Fletcher said he plans on attending the rally tomorrow to answer any questions the protesters might have.
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