Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014
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PR could dust off proposal for playground at park

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City officials will try again to install a handicap-accessible playground at Waterfront Park as a signal to residents of a commitment to improve Port Richey.

Still, City council members could have their plate full with long-term development, according to Councilman Steve O’Neill. “We’re talking about $12 million” overall, O’Neill said if the city built all of its goals at once.

City officials have been talking about creating awaterfront district, O’Neill recalled, but parking remains problematic. The city already has spent considerable sums about possible dredging of canals.

“It’s almost always a matter of money,” Mayor Eloise Taylor interjected.

The playground proposal has beensitting on a shelf as well the past couple of years.

“At least get that playground started for these kids, because time is a’wasting,” Councilwoman Nancy Britton said. She volunteered to lead a fundraising project among residents to help make the playground project happen.

A rough estimate of the playground cost was included in the park’s long-range master plan, Councilman Bill Colombo said.

Possible donors already were stepping forward when the playground was first proposed, City Manager Tom O’Neill pointed out.

The playground project could send a signal to the community, Britton believes.

“Here’s our first step at turning that whole area around,” Britton said.

“If we don’t get parking down there, we’re not going to have growth,” Colombo cautioned about the waterfront area.

Council members applauded the progress the city already is making on infrastructure with several projects in the pipeline.

City Manager Tom O’Neill explained them in a presentation, including Queener Avenue lift station rehabilitation, water main upgrades, street improvements and sidewalk extension of Hike and Bike Trail.

The Queener Avenue project requires a complete rehabilitation of the pump station. Crews must increase the slab elevation to protect station from stormwater inflow, install new pumps, mounting bases, and discharge piping and put in new electrical control panels, among other tasks.

J & H Waterstop Utilities Inc. won the contract. A pre-construction meeting was held June 13. The contractor will begin the work within 60 days.

Most of the cost of $143,847 would come from the city’s share of federal Community Development Block Grant funds, with $18,735 from the city’s water and sewer utility fund.

Meanwhile, water main upgrades will take place in the Harbor Isles subdivision.

The project will replace the asbestos-concrete water mains in the area and provide for new residential services. New mains will be sized for adequate fire protection. New fire hydrants will meet current standards.

Street improvements will resurface or reconstruct Limit Drive, Nicks Park Loop, K of C Drive, Deedra Circle, fire station parking area, Leo Kidd and Washington Street.

Engineers at Florida Design Consultants will perform the design work, preparation of bidding documents and construction phase services.

Geotechnical investigations of subsurface conditions on select streets are in progress.

The estimated cost of $350,000 will come from the city’s transportation impact fees.

Meanwhile, the city intends to build a sidewalk to connect the hike and bike trail along Old Post Road to the Waterfront Overlay District.

Discussions have taken place with Gill Dawg marina executives regarding an easement that would be required to connect the new sidewalk with the existing boardwalk.

The $30,000 estimated cost is included in the fiscal 2014 Community Redevelopment Agency budget.

corth@suncoastnews.com

(727) 815-1068

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