CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. — Crystal River will soon be getting a new park right in the middle of downtown that city leaders say will bring more people to the area.

  • New park being built to make Downtown more attractive
  • Mayor Joe Meek believes the park will be a "game changer"
  • Project will cost at least $650,000
  • More Citrus County headlines

Ashley Porter, the owner of Southern Event Planning and Boutique on Citrus Avenue, right in downtown, said they moved to that location three years ago in hopes of getting more foot traffic.

“It’s been a lot better, a lot more people have noticed us and the business has grown tremendously,” Porter said.

They’re close to the tram people take to see the manatees, and a lot of festivals are held in this area. But Porter says there isn’t a lot connecting the downtown area right now.

“When people think of a downtown, they don’t really think of just a street,” he explained.

That’s where the Town Square Park comes in.

It will sit right across from Porter’s business where a boat sits and will feature fountains, shaded seating, and an event lawn.

There’s also going to be a boardwalk the park will connect to.

Mayor Joe Meek believes the new park will be a game changer for the city.

“We really feel that this is going to be the start of a major revitalization in this whole area,” Meek explained.

“One of the things we’re focused on from a city standpoint is bringing investment in as well. We want to make sure that Crystal River looks great from a public standpoint that we’re investing in our infrastructure and our parks and creating an opportunity where folks that do come in and invest their private capital are going to be successful,” he added.

Porter believes the park will be key to tying downtown together.

“I do think it will bring in a lot more people and be a prime destination spot for tourists to come,” Porter said.

“A lot of people didn’t realize that there is a lot of shopping and things to do in downtown. So the more that we do and the more festivals and the park and the boardwalk, the more people realize that there is more stuff happening down here,” he added.

Construction of the park is expected to start in November. It will cost at least $650,000, which the mayor said will be paid for with Community Redevelopment Agency funds.

They’ll also be looking into grants.