Sarasota County and City of North Port hold public workshops to decide future of Warm Mineral Springs
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02/09/12 Doug Driscoll
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:

The Sarasota County city of North Port is home to a cultural attraction, archeological resource and aquatic habitat called Warm Mineral Springs. In December of 2010, the City and the county purchased the springs for $5.5 million , and they’re now envisioning the future of Warm Mineral Springs under public ownership.

Over the past month, about 500 people attended three workshops hosted by Sarasota County and the City. At one meeting in January, the county’s interim executive director for community services John McCarthy outlined the attractions Warm Mineral Springs offers to the community.

Sarasota County Commission chair Christine Robinson says the springs will be a tourism opportunity for North Port, and citizen input from across the county will drive it’s new vision.

Steve Koski, site manager and resident archeologist at Little Salt Spring, worked at Warm Mineral Springs from 1986 to late 1989. He says in the 50’s and 60’s, early pioneers of underwater archeology discovered evidence of extinct Pleistocene mammals and early human remains up to 10,000 years old.

In a telephone interview, Sarasota County archeologist Jodi Pracht also views the site as an important historical resource not only to Florida history, but the nation as well.

Warm Mineral Springs has remained open as a wellness spa since the purchase. A presentation and conceptual plan will be presented at a joint meeting of the Sarasota County Commissioners and the North Port City Commission on March 20 at 1:30 p.m. in Venice.

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