Wonderful news was heard at the governing board meeting of the SRWMD on Tues, June 13, 2017 when Governmental Affairs Director Steve Minnis announced that the recent Legislature allocated $150,000 for new toilets at Rum Island Park in Southern Columbia County.
Rum Island Park, being a free county park with an attractive swimming area with a spring, is extremely popular. The portable restrooms have often been very untidy to say the least, so the need for permanent facilities has a long history.
The campaign to improve the park toilets was begun many years ago by OSFR advisory board member, co-founder and past president Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, before OSFR existed. She presented this problem many times before the Columbia County commissioners and other agencies.
Merrillee writes the following:
After imploring local government, state agencies, legislators and even making a comment to the Constitutional Revision Board when they came to Gainesville about restrooms facilities at public access areas on the Santa Fe River, finally the funding comes for this heavily used free park through the Suwannee River Water Management District. It will be a most welcome addition to a remote nature-based public park on a protected river. Grandmothers and children will be delighted to no longer walk into the woods to do their business. The human waste loads will be seriously reduced at this location of our already impaired waterway.I am not stopping here; I am also working on getting toilets at Bible Camp Road, Boat Ramp Road, Us 27 Bridge Boat Ramp, Hollingsworth Bluff Boat Ramp and Guy Lemmons Park Boat Ramp (US 129 Bridge). Anyone who is interested in helping me achieve public restrooms at these free local destinations are encouraged to stop in at my Sierra Club office in the Rum 138 building. (2070 SW CR 138, Fort White.)
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-