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Poe Springs Park to Undergo Restoration Project

Poe Springs Park has been barred from public use for seven months since damage from Hurricane Irma forced it to close, but a new restoration project could have it re-opened by this Memorial Day.

The Alachua County Department of Parks and Conservation Lands is about to start a two-phase restoration project to repair Poe Springs. During phase one, work crews will be repairing the boardwalk and removing sand covering the steps that lead to the Springs. This phase of the project is expected to cost tens of thousands of dollars.

"The plan is to have the swimming area open in-time for Memorial Day weekend but there are other areas that are going to require much more extensive work,"Alachua County Communications and Legislative Affairs Director Mark Sexton said.

Charlie Houder, the Parks and Conservation Lands Director, said the second phase of the project will involve larger-scale restorations.

"The repairs that will be done after this season will be much more expensive, and there we're probably talking on an order of magnitude of about a quarter of a million dollars," Houder said.

His department has been waiting on an assessment from FEMA since Irma hit in September.

"When you're dealing with repairs after a hurricane, there's a very detailed and meticulous process you have to go through in order to get FEMA reimbursement for your expenses," Sexton said.

FEMA funding will help with the cost of phase two, but the county is covering the entire cost of phase one with hopes of reimbursement.