Another proposal that may affect the budget is on the tables. Gov. Jeb Bush recently requested Bob Ballard, deputy secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, to meet with the owners of Cypress Gardens, the recently closed theme park.
After the meeting, Ballard said the park is “…not only a Florida landmark, but a national landmark, an international landmark,” a Tampa Tribune article said.
Bush has since suggested the state purchase the park, hoping to preserve at least the original 37 acres of it.
The park closed for a reason. After 67 years, attendance had dwindled so much that the owners lost $6 million total. It may be sad and difficult for some to accept, but there is no reason to save a park that has been overlooked for years.
Furthermore, the money would come from Florida Forever, a program that helps “preserve environmentally sensitive land and important cultural and historical properties,” according to the same Tribune article.
First of all, Cypress Gardens is not “environmentally sensitive.” The Everglades need assistance in that area, not a theme park that has overstayed its welcome. Second, it’s not important culturally or historically because no one has appreciated it for those qualities in years.
Some involved in the proposal are worried that the Legislature may decide to reduce Florida Forever’s $3 million budget, meaning they wouldn’t be able to purchase the park.
If the budget is cut, it will be warranted because other parts of the budget, such as education, would benefit more from the money.
If the budget isn’t cut, the money should go to a more productive cause, not to save a theme park that closed down because it was losing money. This could set a precedent for the state rescuing other parks in trouble.
There are more important things the state’s money could be used for, and saving an old park should wait until the economy has money to spare.