BROOKSVILLE — A deal that helped save the Chinsegut Hill Retreat and Conference Center appears to be another victim of the COVID pandemic.
At its Dec. 14 meeting, the Hernando County Commission reported a Nov. 9 letter from Mid Florida Community Services submitting a 60-day notice of the end of the licensing agreement.
“As you are aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted tourism over the past two years,” CEO Mat Kline wrote to the commissioners. “As a result, our original intention for operating this property has not materialized as expected.”
According to a May 26 story in Hernando Today, a February 2020 deal between the county, the Tampa Bay History Center and Mid Florida Community Services had Mid Florida maintain the grounds and operate the retreat, conference center and rental cabins, and Chinsegut Hill was again open to the public.
Billy Somerville, director of marketing and communications at the Tampa Bay History Center, said his organization is sorry to see Mid Florida go.
“We’ve enjoyed partnering with them to welcome guests to Chinsegut Hill, and the Tampa Bay History Center will continue to operations inside this historic home, renovation projects and weekend tours,” he said. “We look forward to working with Hernando County on future projects as we continue our research.”
Deputy County Administrator Tobey Phillips said in an email message that she is leading the transition team.
“The county is working with Mid-Florida Community Services for the operation of the retreat center to be transitioned back to the county,” Phillips said. “The county will be working with all parties that have existing reservations or event rental agreements to accommodate their request. We are currently taking an inventory and condition status of the property to properly prepare for maintenance needs. The transition team will be creating options for the BOCC to consider for the future management of the retreat center.”
The county said in a press release on Thursday, Jan. 6, that the manor house museum and historic site operations still are open.
The Manor House Museum is open for tours each Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Guided tours are available every half hour, with the last tour beginning at 4 p.m.