DADE CITY, Fla. - The area’s most unique holiday attraction, Snowcat Ridge, re-opened this afternoon after being put on ice by county officials for what they called “life threatening” code violations.
Eddie McCoy was one of many visitors driving by the Dade City park Friday morning, looking for answers -- or a refund.
“We’re just really disappointed, I haven’t told my daughter yet,” he said. “This was going to be her first time seeing snow. When I pulled in here, security said you have to call this number – I tried calling it, but all I got was a message.”
Snowcat Ridge’s owner, Benjamin Nagengast, wants the public to now they were open again as of 3 p.m. Friday.
“We are all on the same page between Snowcat Ridge, and Pasco County, and we’re making sure everything is safe,” Nagengast said.
Thursday, the county sent photographs of unsafe wiring, fire, plumbing and building code issues. This afternoon however, Pasco Fire Division Chief Shawn Whited said the issues have been fixed.
“We’ve given them the OK to go ahead and re-open the snow park for business today,” he said.
The county says it’s the responsibility of the business’s contractor to reach out to the county for those inspections. When the work is finished, county inspectors must examine and approve that work.
When it opened on November 20, only one permit had been inspected and closed.
John Laureano traveled from New Smyrna Beach with his family for the attraction. A contractor himself, he says, he understands it’s a process, but it’s essential.
“Before anything opens that involves the public, you have to have all of your permits in line, all of your inspections and procedures that we have to go through,” he said. “Before they re-open, they have to make sure everything is to par with public safety, and you go from there.”
As for how this happened in the first place, the parks owner says, it was a miscommunication.
“It’s a situation where we’ve had to increase communication with the county and we’ve achieved that and correct these issues,” Nagengast insisted.