SPRING HILL — Loris Kilfeather of Timber Pines said it disturbs her every time she drives by the waterfall entrance to Spring Hill and sees three bare poles where the American, Florida and community flags once flew.
Kilfeather said she and her husband John believe it is particularly offensive to veterans to take down the American flag.
“I think we should honor our flag,” said Kilfeather. “For my husband, it means everything. He is very patriotic.”
Not only that, but she said the loss of the flags detracts from the beauty of the entrance off U.S. 19 and destroys a part of Spring Hill that was been there almost from the inception of the community in the 1960s.
Those flags will return but not before power can be restored to the entrance so they can be properly illuminated at night, said Shirley Jacques, who is in charge of publicity for the Spring Hill Garden Club.
“I’m the one who asked that the flags be taken down,” Jacques said. “I’m a military brat. I was a military wife and I worked for the military and I know flag protocol. You don’t fly flags at night without the lights on.”
County Commission Chairman Wayne Dukes said the county tried to get the Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative (WREC) to pay for the repairs but to no avail.
Realizing that the volunteers with the Garden Club couldn’t pay, the county instead formed a special taxing unit to provide funding.
Dukes said WREC should complete the repairs, relocate the power source and the flags should be flying again in the next few weeks.
The Spring Hill Garden Club, Inc. has an active 99-year lease with the county which was signed in 1994. The county parks department used to assist in maintaining the flags and waterfall at the front entrance. Due to budget cuts, these duties were turned over to the garden club in 2011.
The non-profit club has 60 members and relies on donations to maintain the waterfall entrance and the Nature Coast Botanical Gardens and Nursery on Parker Avenue.
With an aging volunteer base, it’s becoming increasingly harder to take care of the properties, Jacques said.
Kilfeather said she’s glad the flags are going back up but is disappointed they’ve been down since January.
“Why does it have to take (this long) to do something?” she asked.