The Shields Painting Difference: Perfection with Every Brush Stroke
Many painting companies in Florida rely on flashy marketing and big promises to try and attract new clients. But when it comes time to work, they fall short of their promises. This is often due to a lack of experience, qualified painters, and a drive to overachieve. At Shields Painting, we do things a little differently than other painting companies in Citrus County. We believe that a professional paint job should be as close to perfect as possible. Our goal is to leave you 100% satisfied, whether we're touching up an old residential paint job or performing a complex commercial project. It might sound simple, but we achieve that goal through honesty, hard work, beautiful results, and reasonable pricing.
As a family-owned and operated painting company in Ocklawaha, FL, we strive to provide personalized, professional, and friendly service. Shields Painting has been in business since 1968 for a good reason. Whenever possible, we go the extra mile to make sure our customers are happy. Unlike some of our competition, we want to know all about your house or business painting project: your vision, your preferences, your challenges, and your goals. When we understand your needs, we can present you with a fantastic final product - one that you're proud to show off to friends and neighbors.
At Shields Painting, we combine our extensive experience with time-tested, meticulous painting processes, resulting in the highest quality painting results around. As a painting contractor in Citrus County, we can take on a variety of residential, commercial, and industrial projects in Florida.
A few of our most popular painting services include:
- Interior Painting
- Exterior Painting
- Residential Painting
- Commercial Painting
- Cabinet Painting
- Ceiling Painting
- Fence Painting
- Sign Painting
- MUCH More!
Our commercial, industrial, and residential painting contractors take the proper steps to protect your property and belongings while we work. Our team will clean up after ourselves, so your property is left clean and free of debris when we're done. After all, we think there's only one way to do a job, and that's the right way.
Eco-friendly & clean work area.
PDCA Certified Member.
Your Go-To House Painting Company in Ocklawaha, FL
Your home is a haven of relaxation and solitude. It is uniquely you - a place where you can express who you are through style and design. Whether you need interior touch-ups for your crown molding or a new exterior coat of paint, hiring a reliable painting contractor is the best way to get quality results.
At Shields Painting, we know how important it is to have a home that highlights your tastes and personality. That's why we offer an extensive array of residential painting services in Citrus County. As tempting as it might be to try a DIY paint job, without the proper skills and experience, there is a good chance that the results will turn out less than satisfactory.
High-quality painting requires skill, experience, and patience. If you're a homeowner who needs residential painting services but doesn't have the time, patience, or skills to handle the job, look no further than Shields Painting. We offer accuracy, precision, and longevity with each paint job we perform. Our customers choose Shields Painting for their home because they receive:
- Free Quotes with Detailed Project Breakdowns
- Affordable Pricing
- Expert Painting Contractors
- High-Quality Paint Products
- Combo of Traditional and Modern Techniques
- Well-Maintained Tools
- Unmatched Craftsmanship
- Friendly, Personalized Service
- Good Old-Fashioned Hard Work!
The majority of our house painting services come in two forms: interior and exterior.
Interior Residential Painting
As an interior painting contractor with decades of experience, our expert technicians have developed an interior painting process that maximizes quality and emphasizes customer satisfaction. We understand that interior painting goes beyond aesthetics. It protects your ceilings and walls and helps you sustain a healthier place to live for your family. When only the finest craftsmanship will do inside your home, Shields Painting is here for you.
Our seasoned team of painting experts and craftsmen is dedicated to respecting your space and providing you with the look and feel you're craving inside your home. Whether you bought a new house and want to make it your own or need minor touch-ups but have no time, Shields Painting is ready to tackle the job, no matter how small or large.
Unlike some painting companies, our interior house painters take the time to get the details right, every time. For instance, color is only one aspect of your interior paint job. The paint sheen or finish is just as important. Certain finishes are better for living rooms and bedrooms than in kitchens and bathrooms. We'll help you find the right finish and paint colors for your home, so you don't have to worry about touch-ups or repainting.
Some of our most popular interior house painting services include:
- Ceiling Painting
- Popcorn Ceiling Removal
- Living Room Painting
- Bathroom Painting
- Basement Painting
- Color Consultations
Citrus County cabinet painting deserves its own section on this page because it requires more time, skill, and quality paint than most sections of your home. If your home's cabinets are built into its woodwork, replacing them can be obnoxiously expensive. Compared to the cost of installing new cabinets, painting your kitchen cabinets is much more affordable.
At Shields Painting, we specialize in transforming old cabinets into new, gorgeous features that are just as usable as they are beautiful. Each step of our cabinet painting process is meticulous and thorough. And we'll take care of the entire job, from cleaning, prep, and sanding to priming, painting, and reassembly. This unique service lets you enjoy a brand-new look in your kitchen without having to go into debt by replacing your cabinets.
Whether your cabinets are new, but you want to change their color or you'd like to transition wood cabinets to a painted finish, Shields Painting has the expertise and experience to give you a new look you'll love.
Exterior Residential Painting
Your home - it's a place that not only keeps your belongings safe. It protects your family and loved ones, too. It's one of your largest investments, and like anything else of value, it should be protected. However, Florida weather can take a toll on your home's structure and paint, lowering your home's value and even putting your family at risk.
While it's true that a beautiful exterior affects your house's value, it shouldn't take thousands of remodeling dollars to make a positive change to your home. There's a fine line between reasonable pricing and top-quality painting, and that sweet spot is what Shields Painting aims for. If you want to transform how your friends and neighbors see your home, never underestimate the power of a professional paint job.
Our exterior residential painting services are designed to boost curb appeal, give your home a fresh look, and help it stand up to Florida's unique weather. But we provide more than that. When you hire Shields Painting for your outdoor painting project, you will enjoy peace of mind in knowing that your home is in truly capable hands. Our goal is to exceed your expectations and help bring out the best in your property, whether you need to re-stain your deck or remove old, peeling paint from your siding.
If you're on the hunt for the very best exterior painting contractor in Ocklawaha, FL, look no further than Shields Painting.
Some of our most popular exterior house painting services include:
- Vinyl Siding Painting
- Deck Painting and Staining
- Stucco Exterior Painting
- Wood Exterior Painting
- Porch Painting and Staining
- Soffit Painting
- Fascia Painting
- Window Painting
- Front Door Painting
- Thorough Painting Prep
The Premier Commercial Painting Company in Ocklawaha, FL
When it comes to first impressions, your businesses' appearance plays an important role. Your commercial property's paint job factors into its overall aesthetics. A great-looking, well-maintained paint job can mean the difference between a customer walking in your storefront and passing by. Conversely, an old, worn-out commercial paint job can send the wrong message to prospective customers. If you can't take the time to keep up your property's appearance, why would a customer spend their hard-earned money on your products?
The same goes for your businesses' interior paint. Would you want to do business with a company that has peeling paint or unsightly crown molding? At Shield's Painting, our goal is to create a beautiful environment that your customers and employees will love inside and out. When you work with our business painters, you can rest easy knowing we treat your business like it were our own. We always clean up after ourselves and know that operations cannot come to a halt just because we're painting. As such, we'll work with your busy schedule to ensure the job gets done right the first time without disrupting your day-to-day commitments.
With decades of commercial painting experience, we know the demands of a commercial painting project necessitate a disciplined and focused approach from the start. Our team of business painters is committed to delivering quality, on-time results on every project, every time - no excuses
We offer professional business painting services to a variety of building types, including:
A high level of care and finesse are required to effectively paint an industrial property. At Shields Painting, we know that industrial paint jobs involve much more than aesthetics. That's why our industrial services are customized to your specifications, using industrial-grade materials that stand up to heavy-duty operations.
Retail Store Painting
Our commercial painters apply effective, yet appealing interior and exterior paint that stand up to the daily rigors of busy retail environments.
Small Business Painting
Do you own a restaurant franchise? Have a small "mom and pop" location that needs a fresh coat of paint? Shields Painting has the resources and reliability to efficiently get the job done the first time. That way, you can focus on serving your customers, not having your business repainted.
Healthcare Location Painting
From walk-in clinics to long-term care facilities, Shields Painting is sensitive to your patients' needs. We know you must protect your patient's privacy while maintaining productivity. Our approach to healthcare location painting centers around your schedule to avoid disruptions in care.
Apartment Complex Painting
Erase signs of wear and make your apartment complex or multi-family building a more desirable place to live with a stunning, professional paint job.
Florida's Most Trusted Painting Contractor
Shields Painting has been in the business since 1968. In a world where so much has changed, we are proud to uphold the ideals that make us successful: hard, honest work, getting the job done right, and excellent customer service. Providing you with trustworthy, quality work will always take priority over rushing through a project to serve the next customer. That is just not the way we choose to do business.
As professionals dedicated to perfection, we strive to provide a unique painting experience for every customer - one that focuses on their needs and desires instead of our own. Whether you need residential painting for your home or commercial painting for your business, we encourage you to reach out today to speak with our customer service team. Whether you have big ideas about a new paint project or need our expertise and guidance, we look forward to hearing from you soon.352-212-1533
Latest News in Ocklawaha, FL
Ocklawaha man jailed after being accused of choking woman for 15 seconds
A 36-year-old Ocklawaha man was arrested by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office after he was accused of choking a woman for approximately 15 seconds while she was taking care of a baby.On Wednesday, two Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a local residence in reference to a domestic battery incident that had allegedly just occurred. When the first deputy arrived on scene, contact was made with the female victim who advised that she was with a baby when the incident occurred.According to the victim, t...
A 36-year-old Ocklawaha man was arrested by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office after he was accused of choking a woman for approximately 15 seconds while she was taking care of a baby.
On Wednesday, two Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a local residence in reference to a domestic battery incident that had allegedly just occurred. When the first deputy arrived on scene, contact was made with the female victim who advised that she was with a baby when the incident occurred.
According to the victim, the baby began to make noise, and this caused Hampton Mickler Miller to become “aggressive.” She advised that Miller proceeded to approach her from behind and he allegedly placed her in a chokehold, which restricted her ability to breathe.
The victim stated that she was choked by Miller for around 15 seconds. After the alleged attack, she advised that Miller went back to sleep, and she left the room to get away from him.
The second MCSO deputy arrived at the incident location. In the MCSO report, the second deputy noted that the victim did not appear to have any redness around her throat. However, when the second deputy looked at the victim’s eyes, the veins in the “white areas of her eyes” appeared to be “busted.”
Both deputies made contact with Miller inside the residence, and he stepped outside for an interview. According to the MCSO report, Miller initially stated that he had gotten into a verbal argument with the victim, and he claimed that nothing else had occurred. He then told the deputies that the victim had grabbed his arms and was “shoving on him” during the incident.
After being read his Miranda rights, Miller denied the allegations that he had choked the victim. When asked who had gotten physical first, Miller stated that he had grabbed the victim by her arms to move her away from the baby so he could change the baby’s diaper.
The second deputy then asked if Miller’s hand placement had been high enough when he grabbed the victim to be misconstrued as him choking her, and Miller advised that “it was possible.”
Due to the victim having signs of strangulation, along with Miller’s statements to the deputies, Miller was arrested and transported to Marion County Jail where he is currently being held without bond. He is facing a felony charge for committing domestic battery by strangulation.
A court date has not been scheduled yet, according to jail records.
Guest column: Time has come to remove Rodman Dam and restore the Ocklawaha
Guest columnistThe St. Johns River runs through the heart of Jacksonville and Northeast Florida, shaping our lives and driving our economy. Our river is also one of Florida’s most productive estuaries and the nursery grounds for numerous species of commercially harvested fish and shellfish we love to eat.Shrimp spawn offshore, but once their eggs hatch, the larvae migrate back to the ideal habitat of the St. Johns estuary to grow and mature. As a result, commercial and sport shrimpers enjoy the river’s bounty betwee...
The St. Johns River runs through the heart of Jacksonville and Northeast Florida, shaping our lives and driving our economy. Our river is also one of Florida’s most productive estuaries and the nursery grounds for numerous species of commercially harvested fish and shellfish we love to eat.
Shrimp spawn offshore, but once their eggs hatch, the larvae migrate back to the ideal habitat of the St. Johns estuary to grow and mature. As a result, commercial and sport shrimpers enjoy the river’s bounty between Jacksonville and Palatka.
Blue crabs, the largest fishery in the river, release their eggs in the marine waters near the mouth of the river. Wind and tides will eventually carry the larvae upstream where they will find refuge in the submerged grasses that will nurture them. During the warmer months, blue crabs reach as far south as Lake George.
The St. Johns’ delicate tidal balance of salt and freshwater has historically enabled healthy underwater grasses to thrive, providing critical habitat for fresh and saltwater species that have attracted sportsmen from near and far.
Now our thriving estuary and fishing economy are at risk. Due to overuse of our aquifer, dredging and increasing saltwater intrusion, the St. Johns’ underwater grasses are disappearing, the cypress forest wetlands are stressed and fish habitat is vanishing within the St. Johns River estuary from Welaka to Palatka to Jacksonville.
The loss of our river’s submerged grasses also increase the threat of toxic blue green algae and increase flood risk throughout the lower St. Johns.
More than 50 years ago, the Rodman Dam (now known as the Kirkpatrick Dam) was built across the Ocklawaha River, the largest tributary of the St. Johns, as part of the failed Cross Florida Barge Canal. This resulted in the clearing and flooding of approximately 7,500 acres of floodplain forest, while submerging over 20 springs beneath a massive pool of water that significantly reduced freshwater flow to the St. Johns.
The boondoggle canal project was eventually halted by the federal government, but the dam remains in place after all these years.
The good news is that we have an opportunity to finally breach the dam and allow the Ocklawaha to run free, once again. By reuniting the natural connection of Silver Springs, the Ocklawaha River and the St. Johns, we can restore more than 150 million gallons of fresh water a day to our estuary, improve water quality, offset saltwater intrusion and restore habitat for fish and wildlife in the Lower St. Johns River.
A free-flowing Ocklawaha will also restore a lost migratory pathway used by numerous fish species that migrated between the Ocklawaha River and the South Atlantic Bight. Many species historically migrated far up the St. Johns and into the Ocklawaha River to feed and reproduce, including American shad, striped bass, American eel and mullet.
Unfortunately, the construction of the dam across the Ocklawaha severed this migratory pathway and fish populations in Silver Springs have sharply declined.
Few efforts to restore Florida’s biological wealth hold the prospect for such far-reaching benefits including making Northeast Florida more resilient from Welaka to Palatka to Jacksonville.
The science is clear and there is overwhelming public support based on the St. Johns River Water Management Survey conducted in October 2021, where more than 85 percent of the participants expressed a desire to restore the Ocklawaha River.
The time has come to finally restore the largest tributary of our St. Johns River and together, we can unleash the significant ecological and economic benefits of a free-flowing Ocklawaha.
To help save the St. Johns and free the Ocklawaha, visit StJohnsRiverkeeper.org.
Lisa Rinaman, St. Johns Riverkeeper
William McQuilkin: Restoring the Ocklawaha River makes good business sense, too
Guest columnistWater is our most precious resource. In Florida, our freshwater supplies and the health of our rivers and springs are under stress. The Rodman/Kirkpatrick Dam, part of the ill-conceived Cross-Florida Barge Canal, has blocked the Ocklawaha River since 1968 with deleterious effects to the river, to flora and fauna and to our freshwater springs.The Cross-Florida Barge Canal was halted in 1971 by President Nixon due to environmental concerns, but the dam — and the damage — remains. The Rodman Reservoir, t...
Water is our most precious resource. In Florida, our freshwater supplies and the health of our rivers and springs are under stress. The Rodman/Kirkpatrick Dam, part of the ill-conceived Cross-Florida Barge Canal, has blocked the Ocklawaha River since 1968 with deleterious effects to the river, to flora and fauna and to our freshwater springs.
The Cross-Florida Barge Canal was halted in 1971 by President Nixon due to environmental concerns, but the dam — and the damage — remains. The Rodman Reservoir, the artificial lake created by the damming of the river, smothers 20 freshwater springs and has flooded thousands of acres of floodplain swamps critical to what scientists call the hydrologic cycle.
But there is a silver lining in the cloudy waters impounded by the dam. There is a considerable body of economic data and studies from economists, scientists and tourism experts that show that breaching the Rodman/Kirkpatrick Dam would provide Northeast Florida and North Central Florida with significant economic benefits, as well as environmental benefits to the people of Florida, fish and wildlife.
'A dam shame': Taking down Rodman Reservoir financially beneficial, budget watchdog says
A zeal to save the embattled gentle giant in Jacksonville waters: The manatee is in trouble again
Letters:JSO should focus on other issues (besides loud music)
Rivers are about connectivity. Silver Springs flows into the Silver River, which flows into the Ocklawaha River, which is the major tributary into the St. Johns River. They are all connected so we need to take a systematic approach to understanding the downstream effects of the Rodman Dam.
I recently reviewed a 2017 University of Florida study on the economic importance and public preferences with respect to the Ocklawaha River led by UF Economics Professor Emeritus Alan Hodges. Hodges and his team concluded that regional visitation would increase by 28 percent with restoration of the river, while annual use of the Rodman Reservoir has been on a downward trend since 2010.
I have a vintage 1950s postcard from Florida’s Silver Springs, a nostalgic photo of glass-bottomed boats packed with tourists. There was a time when Silver Springs was the most visited tourist attraction in Florida. This was prior to the arrival of Disney World, but with some imagination, smart planning and support from the Florida Legislature one could envision a complete revitalization of the Silver Springs area and downstream to include the Ocklawaha River communities.
Dr. Bob Knight, the executive director of The Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute and now in his fifth decade of working to preserve and protect Florida’s springs, believes we could attract upwards of 1 million visitors a year back to that area. We could also possibly see from 500 to 1,000 manatees return to the Silver River with breaching the Rodman Dam.
This is because the Rodman Dam blocks the manatees from returning to their historic range and finding abundant food and the warm water refuge in the cold winter months that the springs provide. Knight’s vision is that Silver Springs State Park could become one of the top inland viewing areas for manatees in Florida.
Putnam County, Palatka and Welaka should and will play a large role in any restoration efforts.
There was a golden age of Palatka in the second half of the 19th century. Strategically located on the St. Johns River, Palatka became a major port and shipping hub. Boasting several first-class hotels, it was the steamboat era and these steamers with their excited passengers plied the St. Johns and Ocklawaha rivers all the way to Silver Springs.
Palatka still enjoys its strategic location on the St. Johns River. When the Rodman Dam is removed one could envision nature-based tourism once again taking this same historic journey upriver.
Even with the breaching of the dam and the drawdown of the Rodman Reservoir, Palatka can still be the bass fishing capital of the south. There needs to be an economic development package and priority given to recreation infrastructure for Putnam County.
A lot of smart people are already looking at this. A great idea that I find really resonates with local boaters and fishermen is a public boat ramp with ample parking at the east end of the barge canal and access to the St. Johns River.
When you talk to boaters in the area, they like the idea of additional boat ramps to relieve the overcrowded conditions and weekend jostling at existing ramps. This area, near the Buckman Lock, is state-owned so acquiring the land would not be an issue. A state-funded fishing tournament center is also a good idea.
Palatka has so much to offer with a wide, historic riverfront, great recreational fishing and hiking opportunities and Ravine Gardens State Park. There is no reason not to believe that the city could be revitalized and become a great travel destination.
One of the main ecological benefits of restoration of the Ocklawaha River will be to restore the “connectivity” between the Ocklawaha and St. Johns rivers. Probably the most important among these is that breaching of the Rodman Dam would result in increased freshwater flows of upwards of 150 million gallons a day. The increased flows are due primarily to the uncovering of 20 freshwater springs that are “plugged” when the reservoir is full.
Many supporters of river restoration believe that increased flows from the Ocklawaha will also help to mitigate or balance the increase in salinity further up the St. Johns River due to the deepening of the commercial shipping channel to JaxPort. As a prior ship captain, I understand the need for safe navigation and also that a seaport needs to stay commercially competitive while keeping pace with changing maritime technology.
But I have also talked to boaters on the St. Johns River who have seen the effects of saltwater intrusion on the riverbanks and creek beds.
This is because saltwater is denser than fresh and with a deeper channel the saltwater pushes further upriver. Wouldn’t it make sense to use these mitigation efforts for improved salinity and a healthy balance in the river to support fish survival and reproduction?
The restoration of the Ocklawaha River is a 50-year-old problem and it is about time that we, as Floridians, ask our elected officials to resolve this long-standing and controversial issue. This should not be thought of as a “local bill” by our politicians. We need to take a regional approach much like we do for those projects affecting the Everglades or how we treat the Florida Wildlife Corridor that runs throughout the state.
We also need a legislative champion willing to exercise a “profile in courage” for the benefit of all Floridians.
I am a sailor, not a scientist, but I respect scientific opinion and evidence is clearly on the side of river restoration. I also have respect for those who must worry about the bottom line and for those who provide jobs to the working men and women of Florida.
Economics has also been studied and shows increased business revenues due to increased tourism as a result of river restoration. It is important to remember that there is a direct link between a healthy environment, quality of life and a state’s economy.
Natural Florida is a grand inheritance for all Floridians. Let us appreciate this and protect it and let us all come together on this important issue.
I believe that by restoring the Ocklawaha River we would be on the right side of history. We would also be doing the right thing for future generations. Let the rivers run.
William C. McQuilkin is a retired U.S. Navy rear admiral and longtime First Coast resident.
This guest column is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of the Times-Union. We welcome a diversity of opinions.
WATCH: Florida Monkeys Engage In Turf War
The video below shows two monkey troops fighting each other on the Silver River in Ocala National Forest north of Orlando.“Absolutely WILD footage from @capt.schwanke via TikTok of a troop of 30 monkeys crossing the river to fight another group. 45 min. turf war! We’ve been told this occurred in the Ocala National Forest. CRAZY!”...
The video below shows two monkey troops fighting each other on the Silver River in Ocala National Forest north of Orlando.
“Absolutely WILD footage from @capt.schwanke via TikTok of a troop of 30 monkeys crossing the river to fight another group. 45 min. turf war! We’ve been told this occurred in the Ocala National Forest. CRAZY!”
488.5K11.4K42.1K@capt.schwankeCame across one troop of about 30 monkeys that crossed the river t ...See moreoriginal sound - Capt. Schwanke Came across one troop of about 30 monkeys that crossed the river t ...See more
The monkeys in the video are most likely Rhesus Macaques.
Here more about them from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:
“The core population of rhesus macaques is in central Florida around the Silver River. Individual rhesus macaque sightings have occurred throughout Florida, most likely a result of roaming monkeys originating from the Silver Springs population.
These sightings occur as far southwest as Polk County, as far northwest as Wakulla County and as far northeast as Flagler County.”
The monkeys are not native to Florida. The origin of their population can be traced back to the 1930s when the manager of a glass bottom boat operation released six monkeys in the area to attract tourists.
The population has grown to more than 400 monkeys today.
Here’s more from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:
“In the 1930’s, the manager of a glass bottom boat operation reportedly released six rhesus macaques on an island in the Silver River to attract tourists to his boat tours.
The released monkeys swam to the surrounding forests and increased their numbers rapidly. As the popularity of these monkeys grew among tourists, the owner of Silver Springs Park released an additional six monkeys around 1948 on the north shore of the river in another attempt to boost revenue.
Since then, the population of rhesus macaques in the Silver Springs area and lands adjoining the Ocklawaha River has grown to upwards of 400 individuals at times.
Some private trapping and removal efforts have helped keep the population from drastically increasing over the years. As of 2015, the population inside Silver Springs State Park was estimated at 190 macaques, with the population along the Ocklawaha River at an unknown size.”
'A dam shame': Taking down Rodman Reservoir financially beneficial, budget watchdog says
A government watchdog group is recommending that Florida breach Putnam County’s Rodman dam and restore the Ocklawaha River’s natural flow to the St. Johns River.“To do otherwise would be a dam shame,” concluded ...
A government watchdog group is recommending that Florida breach Putnam County’s Rodman dam and restore the Ocklawaha River’s natural flow to the St. Johns River.
“To do otherwise would be a dam shame,” concluded a report that Florida TaxWatch released Tuesday endorsing an idea that environmental activists have championed for decades.
The report, which encourages state lawmakers to fund what’s called partial restoration of the Ocklawaha, bolsters calls from activists who this month produced polling reporting that 77 percent of likely voters in Putnam and Marion counties supported breaching the dam, which is about a half-century old and needs maintenance.
“At some point the state will have to ‘fish or cut bait’ and decide the future of the Kirkpatrick Dam and Rodman Reservoir. Florida TaxWatch thinks that time is now,” said the report, using the state’s formal name for the dam.
The dam, which blocks the Ocklawaha from reaching the St. Johns near Palatka, was built as part of a cross-state barge canal that was never completed because of its environmental impact.
But a core of defenders long ago embraced the dam and reservoir, which bass fishermen prize as prime fishing ground.
TaxWatch, maybe most visible through its yearly list of budget “turkeys” that bypass conventional state-funding requirements, argued that restoration would bring greater economic benefits that the reservoir, whose impact it priced at $6.6 million yearly.
Restoring the river by slowly drawing down the reservoir and creating a gap in the dam “stands to add an annual benefit of $9.1 million upon completion of the project,” said the report. The report also noted projections in a pro-restoration report that the number of reservoir visitors would decline.
It argued a restored river would boost tourism around the 74-mile Ocklawaha, which runs from the Harris chain of lakes to the St. Johns.
The state would also save costs of dam repairs estimated at anywhere from $4 million to $14 million, plus yearly maintenance expenses, TaxWatch said.
The report was cheered by dam-removal advocates who argue the Ocklawaha, the biggest tributary to the St. Johns, could add benefit the larger river by adding fresh water to slow a gradual rise in salinity in portions of the St. Johns in Jacksonville.
“It just underscores the fact that restoring the natural connection [between the rivers] … makes economic sense as well as environmental sense,” said St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman, who said her organization had been in contact with TaxWatch previously.
Rinaman, who like other restoration supporters speaks of the dam blocking a “Great Florida Riverway” including the Silver, Ocklawaha and St. Johns, has argued the dam could pose a significant risk to homes and businesses close downstream if the aging dam fails and releases water suddenly.
Rinaman said an updated dam safety report is expected to be released soon and could impact other parts of the debate over the dam.
A TaxWatch spokeswoman, Aly Coleman, said the group looked at the dam's future as an infrastructure issue and decided to issue its report in light of federal infrastructure funding that became law last fall.