Spring Hill, Florida-- It was 1947 when the famous Weeki Wachee mermaids began dazzling audiences with their underwater shows, and in 2014, it's no different.
"The mermaid show was just excellent. [I've] only seen one, but I plan to see another," said springs visitor Roger Guilfoyle.
In 2008, 140,000 visitors made their way to a then struggling Weeki Wachee Springs. That's when the state took over, and in 2013, almost 270,000 folks, like first-timer like Esther Cassettari, went for a visit.
"I love it. It's clean; it's neat. I love it," she said of the park.
Now the state has released its conceptual master plan to give the old park some much needed improvements, like a splashing pool in Buccaneer Bay for the kids with a bath house and concessions. Plans also include a $2 million dollar parking lot renovation, along with landscaping and plenty of new sidewalks.
Friends of Weeki Wachee and Parks and Recreation identified needs and came up with what is essentially a work plan. The problem is the $8.7 million estimated for the improvements is not money designated for the park.
Now this is a 25-year-long-range plan, and with no timeline set for the big-ticket projects, both the park and folks in Tallahassee will be looking for grant-funding opportunities, as well as public and private partnerships to get these upgrades one step closer to reality.
"I think it looks good now, but it could look better if they get that money invested into it," said Guilfoyle.
For now, the natural wonder will have to hold off on the improvements, and keep dazzling visitors like it has for the last 60 plus years.
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