NORTH PORT, Fla. - It's the end of an era for the only warm water mineral spring in the State of Florida. The North Port tourist attraction is closing and having a yard sale of sorts. Wink News spoke to devastated visitors who are drinking up a piece of history.
"People are enraged, people are sad, I've seen people crying. People that have only been here for one day and were actually crying because they said, 'I've finally found this place and now I'm losing it,'" said employee Liane Deeds.
Since the 1960's visitors have come form all over the world to soak in North Port's Warm Mineral Springs. They say the water has 51 minerals and the temperature is always a balmy 87 degrees.
"We've been coming for two years and it's really been helping my daughter to get rid of her eczema," said visitor Regina Gendler.
"It does help with their skin conditions, it helps with arthritis, it helps with all sorts of ailments," said Deeds.
The City of North Port and Sarasota County bought the springs from Cypress Lending in 2010, but have not been able to agree on how to run the 81-acre facility. They reached an agreement Monday to seek an operator, but too late to prevent to doors from closing.
Now Cypress Lending is selling the spa's furniture, art and equipment at an emergency "everything must go" sale.
The shelves in the gift shop are empty as people stocked up on the mineral water also known as "The Fountain of Youth."
More than 40 employees will lose their jos and say shutting the springs will create a ripple effect.
"I think the community is going to hurt, people have moved here from all over the world, the country. This is the only tourist attraction in our town," Deeds stated.
In 1977, Warm Mineral Springs was placed on the U.S. Department of Interior's National Register of Historic Places.
The emergency sale begins at 9a.m. Saturday morning and everything must be gone by 5p.m. Sunday.