Jackson County Commissioners and their debris contractors are facing an extra-thorny dilemma as efforts continue to clean up the damage left by Hurricane Michael.

Spring Creek Park is closed right now because of damage from the hurricane. Portions of the popular launch point for tubers and low-impact vessels were tipped over, and tress fell upon and over the boardwalk leading to it.

The most difficult problem to solve is the boardwalk. Debris teams can’t get the structure out so that it can be replaced without destroying more of the natural surroundings than they’re willing to disturb. And they can’t deal with the trees that are in the way without taking out the boardwalk.

There’s a good chance that they’ll need a contract amendment to deal with both at once, or the job may need to be bid as a separate project so that the county won’t risk violating the terms that govern FEMA’s reimbursement process for the storm work being done.

Contractors will also have their hands full with something else, come Monday. That’s when they start their last pass through the county to pick up the debris that lies on county road rights-of-way. Local residents have a Sunday, July 14 deadline to get all their vegetative debris to the roadside for that last pass.

Meanwhile, and perhaps well after that project is complete, the county will be trying to figure out what to do solve the problem at Spring Creek Park so they can open it back up for public use.

Things are looking rosier at another county park—Blue Springs Recreation Area opened on July 1, late for the season but sooner than expected. The county had decided to decline an opening this year, because of storm damage and a lifeguard shortage. But parks chief Rett Daniels worked with Chipola College to get a lifeguard training program set up and the county authorized the work that needed to be done there, so that an opening was possible after all.

Commissioners learned Tuesday that another long-awaited Blue Springs improvement will likely be accomplished shortly after the park closes for the season just after Labor Day.

There’s a July 31 pre-construction meeting on that project – the removal and replacement of that swimming hole’s headwall.

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