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Ground breaking held for a new hotel in Fanning Springs

Fanning Springs’ Mayor Trip Lancaster welcomed those attending the ground breaking for the area’s largest hotel on Thursday, November 7.
The 95 room hotel will be a Best Western Premier facility. Mayor Lancaster said he felt the City of Fanning Springs has always served as a meeting place for the residents of the Tri-County area. Years ago, horse races as well as dances at Fanning Springs were common. He went on to say that he felt the City of Fanning Springs should take the lead by helping with this ecotourism development. The first plans for a hotel on this site began with a different developer back in 2015. “We have the right group of developers this time,” said Mayor Lancaster. He believes Fanning Springs could be the Ecotourism juggernaut of North Central Florida. This development should bring additional funds into the area because Ecotourism has become a billion dollar industry in Florida.
Jennifer Padot Collins, one of the developers, spoke at the event sharing that her grandfather once farmed the family land where the hotel is now under construction. The property is just behind the Agricultural Inspection Station on the Gilchrist County side of US Hwy. 19. A crane is visible on the hotel site from SR 26, traveling south on the west side just before entering the City of Fanning Springs.
The 63,000 square foot, five story facility will include a restaurant, rooms, suites and extended stay rooms. The Suwannee River will be visible from the Sunset Lounge on the roof top of the fifth floor. There will also be a swimming pool, a conference center and horse stables. The developers expect that the facility will host weddings and other large events.
The project will benefit by nearly 1.5 million in grants and a loan from Freedom Bank as well as several big investors.
The hotel is expected to provide 40 jobs and it should open in the Spring or early Summer of 2020.