SPRING HILL — The old Lake House off Hunter’s Lake in Spring Hill has been a gathering place for the Spring Hill community since the mid-60s.
But it’s gotten to the point where the caretakers of the house at 1202 Kenlake Ave. are unable to keep it going. And Spring Hill Community Association President Ed Lawrence said there are not enough young volunteers in the wings to step forward when the current nine-member board breaks up.
Lawrence asked county commissioners this week to consider purchasing the Lake House and maintaining it for residents. He said the community association, which owns the home and the 17 acres it sits on, could offer the county a good deal.
Commissioners unanimously agreed to direct staff to negotiate with the association in time for a May 13 public hearing, where the purchase particulars will be hashed out and the sale formally approved.
“I know you guys have put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this and you certainly want to see this property maintained in a way that’s going to encourage our community to come out,” Commissioner Diane Rowden said.
“People who live in Spring Hill for at least 25 years know they can come there and sit by the lake and enjoy it,” she added. “ It’s a great opportunity for us.”
The association rents out the Lake House for wedding receptions, award ceremonies, concerts, dances and other events. There’s room inside for 100 people, a full kitchen and outdoor pavilion. People can set up a chair or blanket and get a view of Hunter’s Lake. The lake is covered in weeds and the county will have to clean it up and repair the boat ramp which sits unused.
County Administrator Len Sossamon said it would be ideal as a “pocket park,” a small, wooded area located near residences for easy access.
Sossamon said it also fits in with the revitalization of Kass Circle, about three miles away. The neighborhood is being renovated with help from a $20,000 grant from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
Lawrence said the civic association spent money on facility upgrades, including fixing the air conditioning system, installing an alarm system, painting and installing a bandshell.
“It’s there for the community to have a place to enjoy in a sort of park-like setting,” Lawrence said.
But he said “it’s difficult for us to keep up with it.”
A price tag was not discussed but the county could pay for the Lake House through use of parks and recreation impact fees, said Commissioner Dave Russell.
Commission Chairman Wayne Dukes called the sale to the county “a big deal” because it will preserve a bit of history for Spring Hill.
“This is going to bring back something to the neighborhood (at) little cost to us,” Dukes said.