Photo: Michele Miller, Times

“Two of Hernando County’s historical treasures will get a new lease on life thanks to agreements signed Tuesday by the County Commission.

Chinsegut Hill, which has struggled for years to develop a sustainable business plan, and the Little Rock Cannery, which over lean budget years has been the poster child for county services to cut, each will have new outside management.

Two organizations stepped forward to help Chinsegut, one to run the historical manor house and the other to manage the cabins and conference center. Hernando County is the tenant of Chinsegut Hill, which as a historical site is subject to the rules of the National Historical Preservation Act and the National Register of Historic Places program.

County officials negotiated terms with the Tampa Bay History Center to run the manor house and with Mid Florida Community Services to run the cabins and conference center. Each is a nonprofit, and each will have a license agreement to operate its assigned portion of the property for $150 annually, paid to the general fund…

In the second of the day’s announcements, the Hernando Growers Association will take over operation of the Little Rock Cannery, which closed more than a year ago. Several organizations over the years have pitched plans to run the historic facility but without any long-term success.

The Grower’s Association also is a nonprofit and hopes to expand the cannery’s programs, provide educational classes and resume the traditional canning classes and operations with a more rigorous schedule, according to Growers Association president Michael DeFelice.

The Little Rock Cannery is a self-serve facility for Hernando County residents to prepare and preserve fruits, vegetables, seafood and meats.

County commissioners expressed support for the community partners stepping up to help Chinsegut and the Cannery, noting they are established organizations with the ability to make the facilities sustainable.

As for making the hard-to-find cannery more visible at the busy intersection of Citrus Way and U.S. 98, Allocco suggested that state officials planning to build a roundabout at that site place a huge canning jar in the middle. ”

— Barbara Behrendt,Times

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