Cause we live on brackish water and they are supposed to prefer fresh….
But, here’s a wee alligator in our back yard!
He scared the bejesus out of grandson Jack a few weeks ago while we were kayaking. (I just looked that bejesus word up after I typed it just to make sure I was using the right term. “an exclamation traditionally attributed to the Irish, used to express surprise or for emphasis.” And Jack’s Irish. Or at least a quarter Irish. So it’s appropriate!)
I used to have nightmares about Maggie getting eaten by an alligator. But now that Maggie’s gone, it’s kind of cool to watch him cruise by very slowly. As long as he stays wee! If he’s still here when he gets bigger, I’ll call FWC to get him removed. Just too many kids and dogs around here to risk having a gator in the back yard!
In other news, went out looking for Gil Watson the other day. Heard he was working on an amazing wood sculpture.
Three cedar trees. One blew down in last year’s hurricane and knocked the tops off of the other two. So Gil was called in!
He’s almost done.
Gil watered down the two end pieces so we could see what they’ll look like when he is finished. The colors are amazing!
Saved the best for last!
The OLD HOMOSASSA WATER TOWER IS PAINTED!!!!!!!
Took over four years but a team of dedicated volunteers along with numerous donations and help from everywhere, we were able to raise over $60,000 to get it restructured, repaired, and painted. Next up–native landscaping and we have already had a local business offering to take that over! Woo Hoo! Then it’s lighting and new fencing.
And on to our next project!!!!!
Have a great weekend! It’s going to be hot. Everywhere!
I was out snapping photos of the sky last week. Trying to get some great water reflections.
When I went back into the house, Terry was waiting for me and said he had been prepared to come rescue me in the event that my boot and I lost our balance and fell off of the sea wall. Silly Terry. I’m not going to fall! I only do that in the house!
Speaking of boot. Got the foot x-rayed. Three more weeks. I might have to put some flair on that boot!
I don’t take many outdoor pictures anymore because it’s not very comfy when I get sand in my new footware. (and it’s really hot and sweaty out there which is extra hot and sweaty with a boot!)
In other news, Zumba starts at the OHLC on Tuesday August 21st 12:30 – 1:30 and then on Wednesday August 22nd 6:00 – 7:00. $5.00 a class. And the instructor accepts Silver Sneaker Insurance–if you are on Medicare you know what that is. And I’m not on it so I can’t explain it! Unless they do “chair” zumba I won’t be able to go that week. Just be out of the boot the day before! Ohhh. What a great idea. Zumba in those rollie chairs that are in the office!
Of course, yoga, ukulele, and the Sew Cool! Workshop continues! (I have no problem playing the uke or sewing while I’m in my boot!)
In other news, in case you don’t get the Citrus County Chronicle, there was an article in their by Mike Wright on Wednesday regarding the Old Homosassa Heritage Park. Here’s the article without pictures:
“Every so often, someone in Old Homosassa asks Rodney MacRae how the park plans are going.
Still waiting on some things to happen, he says.
“The interest is still there,” he said of plans to buy and build a park along the Homosassa River. “It hasn’t waned.”
But even MacRae is discouraged by the lack of action on the part of the state government, and the strings it tied to a $850,000 grant that brings the project more than halfway there.
Halfway, though, isn’t close enough.
“It’s all screwed up,” said MacRae, whose last name is synonymous with the Old Homosassa heritage. “It’s quite the conundrum.”
What started with an abundance of hope in 2015 for a passive, working waterfront park in the heart of Old Homosassa is being choked by red tape that threatens to derail the entire project.
An Access to the Waterfront committee formed that year to look for park property. It settled on the 2.3 acres Buddy Locklar owned. The asking price is $1.4 million.
The county supported the idea, but never wanted to spend local tax dollars on it or own it. The county applied for and received an $850,000 state appropriation in 2017, and the Homosassa organization says it has a private donor prepared to provide the rest.
But there’s a hangup. A significant one.
According to the Department of Environmental Protection, the county must own the property to receive the $850,000.
The county doesn’t want to own it and, officials say, for good reason. If it’s in county ownership, it would have to bid out management of Shelly’s Seafood and Fish Market, potentially forcing the current owner out of business.
Plus, committee organizers say they are planning to use revenue from the fish market lease and commercial fishing dock to pay for improvements, such as a museum and kayak launch.
So the committee sent in its own grant request to DEP — $1.45 million, which would cover the entire sale and keep the county out of the sale.
DEP was expected to provide an answer by late July. Instead, the agency sent an email to County Administrator Randy Oliver saying not to expect a decision until November.
And that raises another problem. The deadline to have a contract to buy the property is Oct. 31 — or the $850,000 appropriation is returned to the state.
Oliver said there is another option. He said the county could use the money plus the anonymous donor’s, buy the property, and then ask the Legislature next year to relax the rules on the appropriation so that the county could sell it to the Homosassa group for a nominal fee.
“There’s no guarantee they would be OK with that,” he said.
Oliver said he plans to bring the matter to the county commission in September to seek direction on how to proceed.
Commission Chairman Ron Kitchen Jr. said he is disappointed state rules have complicated the matter.
“What should have been very easy to work out the state has made all these hoops to jump through,” Kitchen said. “I find it kind of discouraging. There was a lot of momentum for this to happen.”
MacRae isn’t giving up hope, though it’s difficult.
“We are really in a bit of a tangle,” he said. “I’m just bummed out about it. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Terry and I’ve been part of the “Access to the River” Committee from the beginning. At least three years. Weekly meetings, county commission meetings, meet and greets, trips to Tallahassee. We had the support of Senator Charlie Dean, Senator Wilton Simpson, Representative Ralph Massullo, and we thought commissioner Ron Kitchen. The county was awarded $850,000 by the state to buy the park. The county had to come up with the rest of the $1.4 million for the LAST piece of working property on the Homosassa River. Instead they decided they wanted nothing to do with it. So the committee was pro-active and decided to get the Homosassa Civic Club to run the park and Rodney MacRae was able to get the rest of the money from a private donor. But then we discovered that there were strings on the $850,000. THE COUNTY HAD TO BUY THE PARK OR THE MONEY WAS GONE. Sad to say, Citrus County Commissioners went against the wishes of our state senators, representatives, the residents of Old Homosassa and turned down that money. $850,000 plus the money from the private donar. Remember that when you vote for county commissioner in August.
But we will preservere. The committee already has plans in the works!