NORTH PORT, Fla. - It's your money and WINK News found out closing a long-standing attraction in North Port is not only losing tourism dollars, but also costing taxpayers.
Back in July, the Warm Mineral Springs shut down. City and county leaders want to re-open it, but have to pay for security in the meantime.
"People like paradise," said Eric Kotte.
But this once bustling paradise is now an empty parking lot and chained off building. The Warm Mineral Springs in North Port had to close back in July after City and Sarasota County officials couldn't decide how to run the 81-acre facility in time. But ever since these signs went up, residents like Eric Kotte have been upset.
"People come from Europe, Germany, Russia and they claim this place is more effective for healing...this is nature, paradise for them. They feel better. It's good for skin, good for joints," he added.
Now, the site is under constant surveilliance. A security guard is posted on the property and a second fence is up to make sure people stay out. But that all comes at about a $20,000 a month pricetag, not to mention the trickle down loss in tourism dollars.
"We went through our advanced reservations and called everybody because you can't have somebody coming down from Canada for a week that's going to stay here to go to Springs and wait until they walk into the front door and say, 'Oh, by the way,'" said Roger Herber, manager of the Warm Mineral Springs Motel.
Monday night, Springs supporters met to spread their message. City and County leaders will be meeting on January 13th. They're expected to move forward with plans reopen the springs sometime next year.