WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- The abrupt closure of Cypress Gardens last
week prompted Gov. Jeb Bush to suggest the state take over the
venerable attraction through the Florida Forever conservation
Bush directed officials of the Florida Department of
Environmental Protection to meet with Cypress Gardens chairman and
CEO Bill Reynolds to discuss the matter.
"The governor said he wanted to make sure we do the appropriate
thing, that [the park] does not turn into a development," said a
spokeswoman for Bush.
"One option is to make it a state park, as we did with Weeki
Wachee Springs and Silver Springs."
Originally a federal works project during the Great Depression
and the state's oldest theme park, Cypress Gardens closed after 67
Reynolds said the attraction, located 45 miles southwest of
Orlando, lost more than $6 million since he and an investor group
purchased it from Anheuser-Busch in 1995.
He said business never rebounded from the drop in tourism after