Finally, Homosassa has its waterfront park.
Five years in the making, the Homosassa Civic Club is now the owner of a 2-acre parcel on the Homosassa River, thanks to a Florida Communities Trust grant designed to protect working waterfront property.
“The main thing is, it’ll never be developed,” club president Terry Green said Tuesday in announcing the purchase. “It’ll always be a working waterfront.”
The purchase price was $1.4 million, according to a deed filed with the Citrus County Clerk of Court.
Homosassa refers to itself as a working waterfront community but, until now, had no public access along the river. The Old Homosassa Heritage Park and Working Waterfront will eventually include walking trails, kiosks and turning an 80-year-old cracker house on the property into a maritime museum, Green said.
“We’ve heard from a lot of longtime Homosassa residents who have artifacts for the museum,” he said.
While the property gives residents a waterfront park, it doesn’t provide access to the river. There will be no swimming, boat ramp or parking of boat trailers, Green said.
A committee that organized in 2015 approached the county and state legislators for help in buying the property, which includes Shelly’s Seafood and Fish Market, and commercial fishing boat slips.
The Legislature approved $850,000 and the group sought the remainder from the county for the $1.4 million purchase. County commissioners said they supported the park, but not using any county money toward the purchase.
Eventually, the funds were returned to the state unspent.
Green said Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, suggested the group seek funds from the Stan Mayfield Working Waterfront grant that was designed for this type of project.
“If it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t be having this conversation,” Green told a reporter Tuesday.
Simpson, who formerly owned a weekend home in Homosassa, said community backers worked hard for the funds.
“I think this is going to be a beautiful addition to that area,” he said. “This is something the community rallied around.”
Green said the civic club will schedule a public event sometime in the future.