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HomeAt Home & BeyondKeep or Discard? Spring Hill Waterfall

Keep or Discard? Spring Hill Waterfall

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Commissioners Consider Removal

The future of Spring Hill’s historic landmark- the Spring Hill Waterfall, was up for discussion last week.

The Hernando County Board of Commissioners held a special meeting last week to review the Five-Year Capital Improvement Plan for Fiscal Year 2025. At the workshop, Commissioner John Allocco spearheaded a discussion regarding the renovation of the welcome sign at the intersection of Spring Hill Drive and US 19. Though it is not yet on any official plan, the district 3 commissioner noted that they do have funds that could go toward the project.

“We hear about it all the time that waterfall that is there,” Allocco said. “That is basically the entrance we think of to Spring Hill or Hernando County. Obviously, it is outdated. It has been there longer than most of us have been on this planet, and I think it is time for there to be a change there.”

The commissioner suggested that they could use landscaping funds to help not only that median but other similar areas around the county as well. He proposed reaching out to UF/IFAS and master gardeners for help with the project. Allocco’s hope is that the county could use what it learns from this process to assist in the beautification of the other medians “because we do not want them to look like trash,” he said.

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Allocco proposed eliminating the “not Florida-friendly” water feature and “removing the high maintenance problem” that currently exists, as he feels it is a waste of water. He would still like to have a welcome sign that identifies the Spring Hill area he just does not feel like the waterfall is the best course of action.

Besides the waterfall, there are other navigational challenges regarding the roads surrounding the sign that need to be addressed as well. Commissioner Brian Hawkins added that he would like to see a transit study of the area to see what makes the most sense regarding the lanes surrounding the median. He would like to address the traffic congestion at the intersection and “if it calls for it, I would not be opposed to just removing it altogether,” said Hawkins.

Commissioner Jerry Campbell would also like to see a study done much in the same vein as Hawkins suggested, but his concern was less for the old “sudsing” prank that used to be more common years ago and is more perturbed by the high volume of cars that often park on the median for various reasons. This upsets him because “people are trying to take care of it,” and he wants locals to respect the property. He would not like to eliminate the median but rather find a way to fix the traffic situation, much like his fellow commissioners.

Commissioner Steve Champion respects the heritage of the sign, but he concurred with the majority in this case. He feels a “nice marquee, a stone structure that says, ‘Welcome to Spring Hill,’ with Florida-friendly landscaping,” would be acceptable for the entry point to the town. His bigger issue is the same as everyone else’s: the traffic.

There was some dissention on how to address the renovation, though. Chairwoman Elizabeth Narverud appeared to be in the minority for keeping the fountain as she was the only one to speak in its defense on Tuesday.

The chairwoman feels they could reduce the size of the water feature, renovate the sign, and reconfigure the roads around the median, but she would not vote for the full removal of the historic feature. Narverud wishes “to maintain our heritage in this county. I do not want to see that tossed away.”

That heritage extends to the founding of Spring Hill in 1967. The developers of Spring Hill, the Mackle Brothers’ Deltona Corporation, welcomed prospective buyers to the community with a grand park entrance featuring a prominent waterfall and three towering flagpoles.

For many years, the Spring Hill Garden Club maintained the landscaping of the waterfall. According to the club, the waterfall was declared a historic landmark by Hernando County in 1992.

Over the years, the Spring Hill waterfall experienced periods of disrepair, but community-led efforts have ensured that their landmark remained. The Brooksville Garden Club took on the project to restore and maintain the waterfall after the county parks department decided to cut its maintenance from the budget in 2011. Numerous businesses and organizations rallied in the effort to preserve the waterfall and it was restored to working order within a few months. In 2014, the Garden Club returned maintenance of the waterfall back to the county.

Scenic gateway welcomes visitors to Spring Hill [Credit: Deltona Corp., 1967]
Scenic gateway welcomes visitors to Spring Hill [Credit: Deltona Corp., 1967]
Spring Hill waterfall on Spring Hill Drive and US 19, 2016 File Photo [Credit: Elizabeth Dentato]
Spring Hill waterfall on Spring Hill Drive and US 19, 2016 File Photo [Credit: Elizabeth Dentato]

Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch is a Graduate with Distinction, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. He's written numerous articles reporting on Florida Gators football, basketball, and soccer teams; the sports of rugby, basketball, professional baseball, hockey, and the NFL Draft. Prior to Hernando Sun he was a contributor to ESPN, Gainesville, FL and Gator Country Multimedia, Inc. in Gainesville, FL, and Stadium Gale.
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