ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – The largest man-made lagoon in the U.S., currently under construction in St. Johns County, keeps filling up. Soon, residents of the Beachwalk Community will be able to escape to the Caribbean without leaving their backyard.
Imagine the Bahamas in your backyard: The sand. The palm trees. The light-blue water. That's what people living at the Beachwalk Community off County Road 210 between Interstate 95 and U.S. Highway 1 will have when the Crystal Lagoon is finished.
The lagoon is currently missing two things though: sunshine and water.
Workers started filling the lagoon a little over a week ago and the water rises about an inch per day. So residents won't get to see the 36 million gallons of water it will take to fill the lagoon until February.
One of the biggest issues facing the developer and construction workers is keeping the water crystal clear. Developer John Kinsey said it takes a tremendous amount of maintenance, using a special ultrasonic disinfection system along with chlorine.
"The only thing that's been a little bit challenging has been keeping up with the dust that blows in because we do have an active development construction site around us," Kinsey said.
And that's why workers are braving the cold; to manually clean the water with pumps and filters until the vacuum system is up and running.
The 14-acre lagoon will be the largest man-made water feature in the nation, surrounded by 1,000 homes and stores. It’ll be a unique focal point, attracting more families to the fast-growing community.
"They'll be able to swim in the lagoon,” Kinsey said. “(There’s) also boating and all of the water activities with water slides and aerobics. For the general public, it will be a visual element that will provide a backdrop to the retail and restaurants, bars and other commercial buildings."
Kinsey said Crystal Lagoon is expected to open sometime in the spring.