SPRING HILL — To many Spring Hill residents, the bubbling waterfall at Spring Hill Drive and U.S. 19 has been a fitting landmark for as long as they can remember.
Although not fancy, it has been a source of sentimental pride to the community's 92,000 residents and has been the site of holiday celebrations, veterans ceremonies, even a wedding.
But in recent years, the curved, brick wall structure had fallen into disrepair. Marred by neglect, the waterfall had become something of an eyesore. At times, it even lacked the flowing water that made it the eye-catching feature it was intended to be.
Things got even worse last fall when the Hernando County Parks and Recreation Department cut funds for the maintenance of the waterfall and its surrounding area. In January, members of the Spring Hill Garden Club took over maintenance of the site.
With community support, the group raised more than $6,000 in donations and in-kind services for improvements, including new shrubbery, an irrigation system, even a new pump to replace the aging one that had often failed to deliver the sheet of water that made the structure a showcase.
"It was an all-out effort by the community," said garden club member Shirley Jacques. "And with that, we've been able to make a huge improvement at the waterfall."
At 9:30 a.m. Saturday, the Spring Hill Garden Club will hold a public rededication ceremony to thank supporters of the project and to show off the results of their efforts.
"We were delighted by the response we got," Jacques said. "But the big concern is that people may think we're done with it. We're not. We still have a ways to go."
The Deltona Corp., developers of Spring Hill, built the original waterfall during the 1960s, when U.S. 19 was a two-lane road. When the highway was widened in the early 1990s, a new waterfall was built across the street.
Jacques said her club has cared for the landscaping near the site for the past several years.
However, maintaining the waterfall and the adjacent park took resources that were beyond the club's capabilities.
The club had hoped to raise $12,000 through donations to complete the renovation project and have enough left to continue regular maintenance at the site, but the members fell short of that goal.
Saturday's ceremony will feature a guest speaker, Sheriff Al Nienhuis, plus the Springstead High School color guard and band. After the ceremony, the club will serve cake and beverages at the Nature Coast Botanical Gardens at 1489 Parker Ave.
Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or email@example.com.