More than five years ago, Roger Cullen and Joyce Verce decided that Old Homosassa needed a public park on the Homosassa River where all could sit and enjoy the view. Cullen approached Rodney MacRae with his idea and the “Access to the River” committee was created from interested members of the Homosassa Civic Club, Save the Homosassa River Alliance, and the Old Homosassa Heritage Council.
The committee had its ups and downs as they attempted to secure the necessary funding but never gave up on their mission of having a park for all to enjoy. In late 2017, Senator Wilton Simpson advised the committee to complete the application for the Stan Mayfield Working Waterfront Grant that was designed for this type of property. With his encouragement and and direction, the committee went to work and with the assistance of the outstanding staff from the Florida Communities Trust, Citrus County Commissioners, Randy Oliver and his staff, the application was submitted in September of 2018 by the newly formed “Old Homosassa Heritage Park and Working Waterfront” committee of the Homosassa Civic Club.
Finally, on July 7, 2020 the Homosassa Civic Club was able to purchase the Locklar Property at 5380 S. Boulevard Drive, Homosassa. The site of Shelly’s Seafood Market, Wild Sassa food trailer, and several boat slips which will all remain. Consistent with the Stan Mayfield Working Waterfront grant, the new park is “dedicated in perpetuity to the use of the general public for conservation, protection and enhancement of working waterfronts and related activities.” Please note, there will be no swimming from this park; there will be no public boat ramp; and there will be no vehicle with trailer parking.
Original members of the “Access to the River Committee” were chairperson, Rodney MacRae, Roger Cullen, Joyce Verce, Priscilla Watkins, Terry and Kathy Green, Steve and Cyndi Minguy, Bill and Iris Rose, Connie Wright, and Tim Gatto. Ms Watkins passed away in December 2019 and was instrumental in getting the work started. These members continue with the “Old Homosassa Heritage Park and Working Waterfront” and Christine Stuckie, Barb Fletcher, Kathy Beck, Joe and Donna Fara have joined the committee.
The Homosassa Civic Club already held a community clean up day for the property. Members are also working on getting electricity and water added to the boat slips along with more parking. Long term, the 80-year-old Cracker house on the property will be the “Old Homosassa Heritage Museum” as grants and donations are attained.
The first major project will be taking the property off of three septic tanks and onto the new sewage system currently being installed in Old Homosassa. Again, grants and donations will be needed to reach this goal but this is vital to protect the Homosassa River, an outstanding Florida waterway.
Over the past five years we have witnessed many upgrades in Old Homosassa. It is now a legal golf cart community, the water tower is back to being a proud symbol of the heritage of Old Homosassa, beautiful wide sidewalks were added on Yulee Drive all the way to US 19, the Homosassa River Restoration project is getting close to starting water operations, and we finally have the “Old Homosassa Heritage Park and Working Waterfront”.
Donations can be made by check to the Homosassa Civic Club, P.O. Box 493, Homosassa, FL 34487. Please note on the check that it is for the Old Homosassa Heritage Park and Working Waterfront.