Crystal River Riverwalk Finished-Unfinished

The routes of Crystal River's anticipated Riverwalk boardwalk and sidewalks. Routes colored in yellow were completed, and those colored red are unfinished.

There’s going to be some headway made in the next few months behind the scenes of Crystal River’s Riverwalk 

That was City Manager Ken Frink’s message to City Council during a status presentation of the project at a Monday evening meeting.

Frink presented similar updates during his and and Mayor Joe Meek’s Jan. 21 visit with Citrus County Commissioners, who plan to fund the Riverwalk’s incomplete boardwalk phase.

“We think we had a positive buy-in from the county,” Meek told council members on Monday.

Frink said Monday he’s still waiting for three private property owners to sign off on easements for the city to build 1,000 feet of its Riverwalk’s 1,700-foot boardwalk to run through their lots.

These are the remaining three of nine total lot owners along the northern shores of Cedar Cove in King’s Bay who would be impacted by the Riverwalk.

"They’re working with us very closely, and they’re committed to making this work," Frink said. "This is going behind on people's properties that rely solely on the water for their livelihood."

This boardwalk makes up part of the Riverwalk’s total 4,900 linear feet, of which 75% has already been built with lighted sidewalks in the city’s downtown, Frink said.

“It’s not just a sidewalk; it’s more of an eco-friendly, economic driver,” Frink said about the Riverwalk, an endeavor envisioned in the late 1980s. “We know people are interested in Crystal River ... and the Riverwalk would be another enticing feature to help them stay another night.”

Permits from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Riverwalk’s unfinished waterfront sections are also dependent on the easement approvals, Frink said.

Frink said he expects the leftover easements to be OK’d within the next two months; once permitting is completed, construction is slated to start around April 2021.

Crystal River has contributed $3.9 million towards the $6.7 million Riverwalk project.

Costs for the Riverwalk’s boardwalk is estimated to range between $2.8 and $3.2 million. 

County officials plan to allocate $1.7 million from their federal allotment of the RESTORE Act, money awarded from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill lawsuit. Frink said he’s hopeful Florida lawmakers will budget and additional $2 million.

“I honestly think we’re going to hit a home run with that,” he said.

Council also on Monday: 

  • Announced new operating hours for city hall as from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., starting Feb. 3.
  • Voted 5-0 to change city building codes to accept county-issued competency cards and allow registered craftsmen to work in the city. There was also an agreement on a companion vote to have the county review customer complaints and violations against cardholders.
  • Voted unanimously to accept a quit claim deed from Springs O’ Paradise, Inc. to acquire 8.79 acres of canal bottom around Three Sisters Springs in order to build a living shoreline.
  • Voted 5-0 to enter into a federal grant agreement to contribute $1.867 million towards the $2.5 million purchase of 34 towable pumps and five portable generators to help pump out floodwaters from city sewer lift stations. Crystal River is paying for the remaining balance.

Contact Chronicle reporter Buster Thompson at 352-564-2916 or bthompson@chronicleonline.com.

(1) comment

lancel44

The project looks exciting and would be great in theory, but your Asking a state run by republicans, not democrats for money is futile. Just like asking for school funding, or any other project. Surely, a county completely run by republicans can twist the arms of state legislatures? Good luck!

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.