DEFUNIAK SPRINGS Fla. (WMBB) — The DeFuniak Springs community welcomed back a tradition that’s been illegal since the ‘60s.
Swimming in Lake DeFuniak is now allowed and this September will be the kick-off pilot program. After 57 years Lake DeFuniak, also known to officials as “Beach DeFuniak,” is officially open to swimmers.
“I spent most of my youth in this lakeyard and in this lake,” said DeFuniak Mayor Bob Campbell. “It is where I learned to swim when I was only 4 years old. I learned to waterski here when I was only 12 years old.”
Campbell was among many residents who remember taking a dip in this symmetrical spring-fed lake. As of Friday, a ceremonial swim and ribbon-cutting kick-started this season.
“I think it is going to be a real focal point again for our children and even our adults,” said Campbell.
For safety measures, there’s a blocked-off area for swimming, but for next season it will be larger. Mayor Campbell thinks this will encourage more to enjoy DeFuniak’s outdoors, also allowing business opportunities.
“Vending for those, paddleboards, canoes, kayak, and bicycles,” said Campbell. “We would love to see private vendors take over that.”
When it comes to enjoying the area, a community effort will be put in place to keep DeFuniak clean.
“We don’t want things floating in the lake,” said Defuniak’s Beautification Chairperson Dan Owens. “So if something rolls into the lake or gets blown into the lake we don’t want it to be contaminated by anyway.”
Owens is spearheading an effort to add additional trash bins around the lake and across the city.