MARIANNA, Fla. (WMBB)–Each Memorial Day weekend, thousands of people visit Blue Springs in Marianna. But this weekend, the park will be empty. The popular tourist spot is remaining closed amid the pandemic, even after undergoing major construction this past year.
The Blue Springs recreational area is a well-known landmark in Marianna. It’s cold and clear water attracts residents and tourists all spring and summer long.
“On an average Memorial Day weekend, Memorial Day itself, we’ve seen upwards of a thousand people at a time so we really wanted to minimize the risk of a lot of people getting in a closed area,” said Rett Daniels, Jackson County’s Public Works Director.
This concern lead the county to decide to keep the park closed until May 30th.
While some residents are sad over the news, many say they understand and have already made new plans.
“I’ll pretty much just stay away from everyone, I’ll barbeque but it’ll pretty much just be family only,” said Michael Peak, a resident of Marianna.
When residents return to Blue Springs, they can expect many changes.
“We’ve been doing a lot of work. Increasing the amount of sidewalk space to allow better access to those that may have a handicap whether it be crutches or even wheelchairs,” said Daniels.
A safety rail has also been added around the creek, as well as a new wall.
“That expanded the access area between the wall and the water so now we have a lot more lounging area if someone wanted to lay out on a towel or sit out in a chair or something like that,” said Daniels.
When Blue Springs opens, it will operate at 25% with social distancing being enforced.
The park will be undergoing even more construction after Labor Day. The county plans on adding new picnic tables and more grilling areas.