Can FROGS free Glen Springs?
Gainesville’s only artesian spring is unquestionably in need of liberation. Once a free-flowing branch of Hogtown Creek, it has been imprisoned in concrete for decades; trapped to feed a community swimming pool that long ago fell into disuse.
Now it sits neglected and forlorn behind the Elks Club, on Glen Springs Road next to Ring Park, its flow greatly reduced and its still clear water tainted by septic tank leakage.
“Many residents of Gainesville visit local springs such as Ichetucknee, Poe and Ginny. However, most Gainesville residents have no knowledge that there is a spring in the heart of Gainesville,” says a Glen Springs Restoration plan posted on the website of the Howard T. Odum Springs Institute. “Clearly there is a need to rejuvenate Glen Springs to a restored natural and cultural resource that Gainesville can once again be proud of.”
But there’s the rub. While awareness of the plight of Glen Springs has been slowly growing, there seems to be little traction to acquire and restore this lost natural treasure. Glen Springs does not appear on the city’s land acquisition list nor is it included in Gainesville’s ambitious 20-year, $56 million Parks and Recreation Master Plan.
Cynthia Barrett: We can save Glen Springs without Nathan Collier’s cash
When we learned Nathan Collier was our neighbor behind the lions, we could not have been more surprised. We were likewise surprised in May, when the Gainesville City Commission voted 4-3 to move forward to consider Collier’s $1 million offer to buy five acres of the city-owned Loblolly park adjacent to his property, so that he can enlarge his personal refuge.
Others have already argued against the idea of Gainesville selling off public conservation lands. The city’s own parks and recreation staff declined Collier’s offer two years ago, with director Steven Phillips’ erstwhile final answer that “the city does not want to create this kind of precedent for the exchange of land purchased for public conservation.”