Monday, Jul 28, 2014
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Pinellas News

Arson investigation at Wall Springs remains open

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PALM HARBOR — An early morning fire last week that destroyed the Wall Springs Park observation tower remained under investigation as of Monday evening.

According to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office website, last Wednesday’s structure fire continues to be suspicious in nature and not accidental.

Signs have been posted on the grounds of the county park west of ASlt. 19 offering cash rewards of up to $2,500 and more for information that leads to an arrest in the case.

“It’s still under investigation by the appropriate authorities at this point,” said Kathy Swain, operations manager for the north district of the Pinellas County Parks and Conservation Resources Department. “But under any circumstances it’s unfortunate because it was an amenity that everyone enjoyed.”

The destroyed observation tower was four-stories tall and 3,000 square feet in total size. It served as the centerpiece of the 210-acre park that runs along the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail.

Until the Sheriff’s Office investigation wraps up, the western portion of the park will remain closed to the public.

“The safety of the citizens and patrons of the park is our first-and-foremost concern,” Swain said. “We want to make sure that area is completely safe.”

Assessments on the future of the tower or any eventual replacement must also wait for the end of investigations.

The park’s eastern section, initially closed, is now accessible. Swain said that includes the two shelters, playground, one fishing pier, the overlook of the springs and access to the recirculation bridge.

Wall Springs Park is along the Gulf of Mexico, at 3725 De Soto Blvd.

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