Action News reports low attendance and polluted waters are factors that led to the park going out of business.
The article says Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet agreed to accept a $4 million lease buy-out from Palace Entertainment. The money will be used to restore the park to its natural condition.
Palace Entertainment’s lease runs until December 2029.
“We are pleased that the governor and cabinet have decided to approve this agreement so that the department can return the property closer to its natural state, involve the community in recreation opportunity decisions and continue our efforts of improving water quality in Silver Springs, one of Florida’s most iconic treasures,” said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard, Jr., according to WUFT News.
The Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration have met about a basin management action plan for the park. The plan is to reduce nitrates affecting the springs. The article said nitrates cause excessive algae growth in the spring system. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has already begun working on improving water quality.
The first project will be the elimination of wastewater discharge from the Silver Springs Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant. Wastewater will be redirected to the Silver Springs Shores Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is 10 miles from the head spring, according to WUFT.
“Florida’s 171 state parks, trails and historic sites are pleased to welcome the Silver Springs property into our family of resource-based recreation areas and historic and cultural sites,” said Donald Forgione, director of DEP’s Florida Park Service. “We look forward to working with Palace Entertainment during the transition and to opening the gates on Oct. 1 as a state park.” [WUFT–Action News]