A hastily arranged lifeguard class at Chipola College and Jackson County Commissioners’ Tuesday authorization of some additional work at Blue Springs will make it possible to open the recreational after all this season if all goes well.
Jackson County Public Works Director Rett Daniels said that day he hopes the gates will open in time for the 4th of July holiday weekend.
Earlier this month, Daniels had reluctantly recommended that the park not open unless circumstances changed-a shortage of lifeguards and some lingering problems from Hurricane Michael drove that recommendation, approved by the board.
If at least two of the six lifeguard candidates pass muster in the Chipola course, apply for the job and get hired, Daniels said he’ll have enough on board to open. The park would be open Thursday-Sunday, as current plans stand.
The replacement of fencing around the park has been completed, and a dock contractor has provided some estimates for the work that must be done to repair that asset. Commissioners were offered two options. One, to completely replace the entire uninsured dock array and outfit everything with special fortifying foam would have cost $130,692. To repair what’s usable and replace the rest would cost $33,000, and that’s the option commissioners chose.
The county will try to get FEMA to reimburse the cost, but for now the expense will be paid out of money earned from past timber sales around the undeveloped portion of the park. The county will continue to work on the removal or burning of tree stumps and other vegetative debris that remains in the park to make the opening possible.