BY: PATRICIA SICKLES
As old man winter takes over and we turn our calendars over another year I couldn’t help but think back on 2017. As I did, three significant events came to mind.
The first was a very happy one for, in June, the new Green Cove Springs City Pool Complex opened. The endless months of construction noise was replaced by the sound of happy children enjoying the spring fed pool and splash park. The squirrels resumed their frolics in the picnic areas and the birds reclaimed their nests in the trees.
Guests marveled at the amazing chemical free pool located just across the street that they could enjoy for only $4 per person.
The second was, of course, the 20th anniversary of River Park Inn in July. We celebrated with a play on the porch and seating on the lawn with the sidewalk as center aisle. As stormy weather threatened, the show went on and what a success it was. “Passing the Baton” written by Elaine Smith of Clamour Theatre and starring Grant Alford recounted in a humorous one man show the tourist era of Green Cove Springs. In those days, Dr. Joseph Applegate, the proprietor of the grand Clarendon Hotel, lived in our building and dispensed the medicinal water from the healing spring to those who came for the “cure”. Back by popular demand, it was performed for Vivo Tours in August and will be performed again for the Penney Farms Historical Society this month.
The third was not so happy. In September Hurricane Irma forced many to evacuate and caused wide spread damage to much of Florida. Thanks to being on high ground and having a new metal roof installed in April, the inn withstood the impact of Hurricane force winds and was able to host many of those who evacuated other parts of Florida in their exit as well as their return.
In addition to the new pool complex, other changes in town included the sale of the old movie theatre, another car dealership and the old hardware store. Change often comes slow to small towns like Green Cove but change is certain and it seems to be coming faster now that the outer beltway nears completion.
While this year had its ups and downs, it is the difficult times that make us stronger and realize how much we should appreciate and savor the good times when they come. May this New Year bring to you the fulfillment of your dearest hopes and new hopes to fulfill for the future.