Citrus County Commissioner eyes waterfront land for park
Image via Citrus County.

ozello park
Ron Kitchen Jr. had once said the property is 'basically worthless.'

A Citrus County Commissioner is recommending the county negotiate to buy property in Ozello that once housed a popular restaurant before the March 1993 “no-name” storm reduced it to splinters.

Commissioner Jeff Kinnard is seeking support at the board’s meeting Tuesday to negotiate for the 3-acre Pirates Cove property next to the county boat ramp and community park along the shores of the St. Martin’s Marsh Aquatic Preserve.

Pirates Cove was a hotel and restaurant destroyed by the infamous 1993 storm. The property sat dilapidated until 2019, when it was torn down. In 2017, Citrus Commissioners turned aside owner George Decker‘s attempts to turn the property into a condominium resort.

Decker died in 2019, and his heirs told the county they would listen to offers for the property. Kinnard urged Board support at the time, though Commissioner Ron Kitchen Jr. said the property is “basically worthless” because zoning prohibits large-scale development and it sits in a flood zone. 

Commissioners, though, agreed last March to get the property appraised. According to Tuesday’s board agenda, there were two appraisal reports: One set the value at $700,000, the other $616,000.

Kinnard said it’s worth the county pursuing.

“There are very few pieces of property left out there that adjoin an existing county park,” he said.

The County Commission meets at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Citrus County Courthouse, 110 N. Apopka Ave., Inverness.

Mike Wright

Mike Wright is a former reporter with the Citrus County Chronicle, where he had covered county government and politics since 1987. Mike's skills as an investigative reporter earned him first-place awards in investigative writing. Mike also helped the Chronicle win the Frances Devore Award for Public Service in 2002.



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