Warm Mineral Springs Park Improvements
The City of North Port is working hard to maintain and restore Historic Warm Mineral Springs Park and the iconic features found on the site. Recently, the City approved a Master Plan, which if funded, includes significant restoration work and facility improvements for years to come.
While not specifically included in the Master Plan, a feature immediately needing repair is the 60-year-old Quadricentennial commemoration piece. Originally built to highlight Florida's 400th year in December 1959, this piece has seen better days. Many tiles are missing, broken, scratched, and have sustained UV damage. Most of the original grout has deteriorated completely. Over the years, various owners of the site have tried to replace broken tiles with mismatching pieces and several tiles need to be replaced. Unfortunately, exact replicas of the tiles cannot be found. In January of 2019, the City put out-to-bid a restoration of the structure with Pearse Kelly of Splashmosaic coming forth at a cost of $12,615.00.
Mr. Kelly has had training in both classical and modern mosaic at the studios of Laurel True in Oakland California and Luciana Notturni in Ravenna Italy. He is often asked to speak at historic restoration groups and has completed mosaic restoration work on significant local pieces including the Mable Ringling Fountain which was commissioned by the Sarasota Alliance for Historical Preservation; mosaic seahorses that were part of the 60-year-old Beachcomber Resort; and the Florida Maritime Museum fountain.
Mr. Kelly plans to painstakingly work to preserve the smaller green and red mosaic tiles used in and around letters and the yellow 4X4 tiles highlighting the state of Florida. Time and the sun have been less forgiving on the large 4X4 green tiles and approximately 85% of these tiles are damaged to some extent All of the large green tiles are imbedded in the cement foundation of the structure making removal without damage difficult, if not impossible. It has been determined that all the large green tiles will need to be replaced in order appropriately restore this commemoration piece. Some site work has already begun to ensure the small mosaic and yellow tiles are kept safe while the others are taken out. A moisture barrier will be installed, holes will be patched, missing pieces will be replaced, and new grout will be added.
In the coming weeks fencing will be installed to secure the site. The work, which will take a few weeks, will restore and highlight this significant piece of local history for decades to come.
Additionally, as part of the Warm Mineral Springs Park Master Plan process, Kimley-Horn & Associates and Lorrie Muldowney, President of Creative Preservation, LLC., facilitated a nomination in November 2018 to add the park’s three existing buildings to the National Register of Historic Places on behalf of the City of North Port. The Springs itself was added to the National Register in 1977.
The Bureau of Historic Preservation – Division of Historical Resources has advised the City that the hearing date with the National Register Review Board for the Warm Mineral Spring Park buildings is on May 23, 2019. It will be held at 1:30 p.m. at the R. A. Gray Building, room 307, 500 S. Bronough St., Tallahassee, 32399.
Public letters of support for the Warm Mineral Springs Park buildings historic nomination can be submitted up to the meeting date of May 23, 2019. The Bureau of Historic Preservation advises that the best time to send letters in is 2-3 weeks before the meeting date, so copies can be provided to National Register Review Board members. All letters of support can be sent to the following address:
Ms. Alissa Lotane
Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer
Bureau of Historic Preservation
500 S. Bronough St.,
Tallahassee, FL 32399
For more information about Warm Mineral Springs Park, visit www.CityofNorthPort.com/WarmMineralSpringsPark.