Spent some time the other day hanging out on the porch with Terry Green.
Terry is president of the Homosassa Civic Club and the porch where we sat looked out over the Homosassa River, commercial fishing boats and tourists arriving for a day on the water.
The screened-in porch reminds me of the one we have here at Just Wright Citrus world headquarters on the shores of Big Lake Henderson. It’s a place to relax, enjoy the spring day, and chat.
Terry is one of those community leaders who I’ve come to respect more the longer I know him. Not because of what he says, but what he’s done.
We met some years ago over some controversy with the Homosassa Civic Club, of which Terry was the recently named president. I don’t recall the details and sure as heck don’t want to conjure that up again, but once the issue subsided somewhat I noticed that both Terry and his wife Kathy made significant inroads to unite the community.
Membership in the civic club shot up to over 150, and more good things were to follow.
Terry and other community leaders, including Roger Cullen and the man known as the “mayor” of unincorporated Homosassa, Rodney MacRae, went about trying to get a park along the river. Some place for families and kids, a place that exemplifies Old Homosassa’s heritage as a working waterfront.
They looked at two possible sites. One was an old RV park near the Homosassa water tower that had fallen on hard times and was shut down here and there by the health department. As I recall, the owner wasn’t interested in selling.
The other was the speck of paradise Terry and I were admiring from the front porch of the house that sits on the site now known as the Old Homosassa Heritage Park and Working Waterfront.
There’s a long government story behind all this that I fully intended to roll out, but it’s really not necessary. I mean, the government was huge: Sen. Wilton Simpson alerted the group of a grant specifically to protect working waterfront communities and, bingo, the civic club had $1.4 million to buy these 2 acres.
It’s a park unlike any other in the county that I know of. It’ll be passive, no boat trailer parking or swimming. The old house with the cool porch will become a heritage museum. You know. Park stuff.
But it’s also a thriving business community: docks for commercial fishing boats, Shelly’s Fish Market, Wild Sassa food trailer.
So, yes, the government played a significant role in this endeavor but it wouldn’t have mattered if not for community. The community of Homosassa, and its leaders like Terry Green, deserve to bask in the knowledge that their hard work for the greater good is paying off.
Don’t take my word for it. Go check out the property yourself and, while there, take in this very cool and historic community.
The park is in the very early stages of development. And I know once complete, it’ll be glorious and familiar in that Old Homosassa way.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.