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Last updateFri, 18 Apr 2014 10pm

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Poe Springs Park appears to be abandoned

HIGH SPRINGS – Even though the City of High Springs budgeted revenue from Poe Springs Park for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, it appears that revenue will not be realized as the park will not be taken over by the city.

At the April 24 commission meeting, Vice-Mayor Bob Barnas updated the commission on the status of the park. He said there has been some difficulty revolving around the installation of steps leading into the springs. When the construction company removed the dirt, water continuously seeped through, making it impossible for concrete to be poured to create the steps.

Instead, a series of pre-fabricated steps that will interlock into place will be installed. This decision means the park will have to go back to Alachua County to ask for more money. It is estimated that the project could be finished by July.

The City of High Springs is unwilling to wait that long because peak summer season would almost be over by the time Poe Springs traded hands, reducing revenues the city would receive.

“They still want us to be willing to talk in the future,” Barnas said. “But they understand we’re under no obligation to do anything now.”

Barnas said Poe Springs Park will keep the city informed of developments.

The commission agreed not to move forward until the steps are completed. Commissioner Sue Weller requested that the city write a letter to Alachua County detailing why High Springs no longer wants to take over Poe Springs this year.

The City of High Springs recently hired Parks and Recreation Coordinator Karla Carusone, at least in part, based on the assumption that her salary would be covered by funds generated by the Poe Springs venture. Carusone is paid $14 per hour, which is approximately $29,120 annually. But her position comes at a total annualized cost of some $41,400 when calculating taxes, benefits and other employment costs. There have been no discussions concerning how the city will fund the recreation position now that the acquisition of Poe Springs seems unlikely.

A related matter concerns the fate of a golf cart which the city purchased for an estimated $1,700 under the direction of Barnas for use at Poe Springs.