Floral City Beautification Continues with Water Fountain Donation
A Historic District is a group of buildings united by a historic feature. On December 1, 1993, the Floral City Historic District was designated as a listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). It is the only national historic district in Citrus County.
While the Avenue of Oaks is the most prominent feature of the Floral City Historic District, many people access the district, which includes historic homes, a historical museum, library and town square, through a turn off of US41 onto Orange Avenue, or CR48.
Over the years, this intersection has seen many changes. The northeast corner became somewhat of an eyesore until the dilapidated structure that occupied it was razed by Citrus County. It was then an empty lot.
Huge, “hurricane-proof” streetlights were installed, and Florida Department of Transportation was talking about making this a four-lane intersection. This was not popular with Floral City’s residents.
The Floral City Heritage Council serves as an advocate for Florida historic preservation as well as presenting and supporting Florida folk-life programs.
Floral City Residents and Businesses work to Beautiful Intersection
Laura Hennings, Co-Chair of the Floral City Heritage Council and owner of The Red Brick Place at 8305 E Orange Avenue, which is adjacent to the Beautification said, ” After the building next to mine was demolished by the county, I exhausted all contacts with the normal agencies and routes to get this corner of our village cleaned up. When all those avenues failed to respond, our Heritage Council joined forces with our Garden Club, and we took on the task ourselves.”
In 2019, Laura invested in having a beautiful mural depicting the Avenue of Oaks painted on her building to enhance the entrance to Floral City’s historic district and town square.
New street signs were added to the Historic District in 2020, adding to the historic character that is central to this Nature Coast community.
The Heritage Council, partnering with local residents and businesses, invested in gravel to cover the ground, and added barrels of painted metal flowers to enhance the space. It has really become a much more welcoming entry to Floral City’s quaint downtown.
Floral City Garden Club joined the Heritage Council in Raising Funds for Beautification Project
The Floral City Heritage Council and The Floral City Garden Club joined together sharing ideas and raising funds to enhance the abandoned NE corner of US 41 and CR 48/Orange Avenue at the traffic light.
The Council and Club now have been joined by a third significant participant. The Floral City Water Association has donated and helped to install an eight-foot metal decorative water fountain on the site.
Floral City Water Association Donates and Installs Water Fountain to Beautify the corner of US41 and CR48
Formed by Floral City residents in 1969, the Floral City Water Association served its 250 original members with a single 4″ well. Today the Association supplies the majority of the water needs for the area including Floral City Elementary School, Withlapopka Island, and Duval Island.
Leading the planning and construction of the site are Laura Hennings and Ralph Johnson. Mr. Johnson is a board member of the Water Association, on the Steering Committee of the Heritage Council, and a Garden Club member.
Hennings and Johnson have been supported by Janie Stewart, board member of the Water Association, Finance Officer of the Heritage Council, and Vice President of the Garden Club. They were initially assisted by Bill Metcalfe, Floral City Heritage Museum Director and Susie Metcalfe, immediate past President of the Garden Club and a Heritage Council member.
After an extensive search of local vendors, Johnson and Stewart traveled to Bargersville, Florida, where they located an impressive fountain at the Barberville Yard Art and Emporium. Upon delivery June 29, the fountain was set up by Taylor Frisbie and Tom Himes of Floral City Water Association, along with volunteers Doug Mason, Ralph Johnson, and Bob Rutemiller. Mr. Rutemiller completed the water hook up.
Phases one and two, consisting of installing the metal flowers and pea gravel with the addition of the water fountain are complete, thanks to many local residents and businesses who have already supported the Floral City Beautification Project.
Stop By Floral City to See the Changes and Enjoy the Tranquility
Future plans of the Floral City Beautification Project include refurbishing benches, lighting, and a permanent welcome sign are planned. Construction on phases three and four will continue as monetary donations are received.
Contributions may be sent to the Floral City Heritage Council, P.O. Box 328, Floral City, FL 34436. For additional information or to volunteer, contact Ralph Johnson at (352) 400-8824.
The Floral City Heritage Council will resume meetings in-person with a August 31st gathering at 7:00 p.m. in the Floral City Community House. The public is welcome to attend.
Learn more about the Floral City Heritage Council, the Heritage Museum and Museum “Country” Store and the upcoming 2021 Floral City Heritage Days at www.floralcityhc.org
Feature Image by Marcia Beasley of fountain installation June 29, 2021.