NORTH PORT -  It didn't pay to bet on the horses Monday.

Plans for equestrian facilities and horse trails at Warm Mineral Springs were cut from the proposed master plan at the facility.

Also eliminated were plans for camping cabins, tent camping and an RV park.

The North Port City Commission held a workshop to review the proposed master plan with representatives of Kimley Horn, an architectural firm that devised the proposed plan to develop and improve the Warm Springs Park.  

Monday's meeting was the first of several planned reviews of the aspects of the plan.

Plans to improve the structures at the facility were left intact.

City Manager Peter Lear said the buildings need immediate attention.

"We have a plumbing issue that we have to fix," Lear said. "So even if we do not proceed with aspects of  the plan, the city still has to spend money."

Lear said the persistent plumbing issue needs to be addressed and the estimate is that it will "cost in the neighborhood of $100,000." 

Ways to finance the improvements called for in the plan "will come from various approaches," he said

The plans to accommodate horses at the facility died after Vice Mayor Debbie McDowell said the idea never registered with residents wanting to have horse trails on the lands during recent public meetings.

"No one spoke out in favor of horses," she said. "I mean absolutely no one."

The City Commission was urged by the public to market the facility more aggressively.

"People come here from Miami and West Palm Beach for the wellness factor," resident Heidi Simpson said. "We should advertise this facility in spa magazines. More people need to be aware that it is here."

The planned RV camping facility died after only Commissioner Vanessa Carusone supported it.

"RVs contain their waste in holding tanks," she said. "So I don't see an issue with them."

The commission also voted to keep a bench pavilion and a show pavilion in the plan. Also moving forward was a plan for a observation tower - similar to one in Robinson Preserve in Manatee County - and a raised footbridge.

Representatives from Kimley-Horn were also directed to revised the proposed plan and bring it back at a future date.

"This is not our last conversation with you," McDowell said. "We need you to come back with changes based on our feedback."


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