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Updated: 10/29/2013 10:30:01AM

City to hold all-day workshop to tackle Springs

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NORTH PORT — After nearly three hours of discussion on what to do with Warm Mineral Springs Day Spa, North Port city commissioners struggled Monday night to figure out which direction to go.

They decided they needed to schedule an all-day workshop as soon as possible before they could tell Sarasota County what they want to do for a longterm plan for the Springs, which has been closed to the public since June 30. The city and county co-own the 81-acre property. Nothing can be done unless both governments agree on a contract. North Port Mayor Linda Yates wanted commissioners to consider opening the Springs for swimming in its 87-degree waters. However, City Commissioner Cheryl Cook said she could not see spending $700,000 to $1 million to reopen the property as a swimming hole. “I am not for opening it as a public park for that kind of money,” Cook said. She said she supported a longterm plan no matter how long it takes to complete. Commissioner Rhonda DiFranco called what Sarasota County has been doing to North Port “bunk.” Commissioner Jim Blucher offered several ways to begin the process of deciding what could be done. But other commissioners derailed the talks, saying they have already offered an olive branch to the county and no longer wanted to placate them anymore. City Attorney Rob Robinson said the city may not have exhausted all of its options because they had not sent a longterm plan to the county. He said without it, it would be harder to defend in court. Several members of the public spoke and nearly begged commissioners to reopen the Springs, saying the mineral-rich waters help heal arthritis, swollen feet and other aliments.

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