One of the more popular waterside parks in Hernando County has been closed since last year. One of the few beach areas for residents to enjoy, the park features white sand and is a safe place to visit multiple species of fish. It is also a spot to get a close-up glimpse of manatees in the winter when Jenkins Creek becomes a cold-weather refuge for the chubby creatures. The closure of Linda Pedersen Park’s beach and boardwalk area was due to “a number of broken and deteriorated planks along the boardwalk,” according to the county. Still, some wonder why the county did not make temporary repairs and leave the park open to the public rather than shutting it down for the better part of a year.
Instead, the county opted to make the entire area located within the park at 6300 Shoal Line Boulevard near Hernando Beach off limits to residents as the apparently complex and time-consuming procedures of design, permitting and construction ever-so-slowly play out.
“I think they could have fixed a few planks and left the thing open. We (the family) used to come out here at least once a week and check out everything from snook to manatees,” said Eddie Dunne, pointing at the creek beyond multiple signs warning visitors to “Keep Out.”
The park was closed in April of 2020. Meanwhile, weeds have cropped up above the white sand, the orange temporary fencing is fading, and large signs warning people of snakes and alligators are the only outward signs of progress made since the area was closed.
Unfortunately for those who enjoy viewing manatee and other wildlife from this popular venue, the park’s reopening is still months away. While all bids were received earlier this month they are still under review. Although Lyric Service Inc. is the lowest bidding company, work will not begin for several months, according to Community Services Director Christopher Linsbeck.
“I’m anxious to get this one moving along,” said Linsbeck on Friday, Dec. 4.
There also has to be a Recommendation for Award presented as an Agenda item to the County Commission for the project to move forward. Linsbeck also says the county is putting in a request for additional funding to the Department of Treasury and that has to be done before the boardwalk item goes to the BOCC for awarding of work to the selected bidder.
As to the project’s scope, works include the “replacement of the existing, dilapidated boardwalk, sheet pile wall, swim platform and sidewalk at Linda Pedersen Park.” The majority of the project is to be constructed in the same footprint as the existing structures.