NEW PORT RICHEY — Residents can learn more about redevelopment in the U.S. 19 corridor and coastal Pasco County during a Wednesday, July 30, presentation.
With cooperation of city leaders, Pasco County officials will hold the event 5:30-7 p.m. at the SMARTstart business incubator, 6347 Grand Blvd.
Then the county will hold a workshop from 8:30 a.m. until 2:45 p.m. Thursday, July 31, at the same location.
Pasco was only one of 18 communities in the country that received a federal grant for Smart Growth Technical Assistance, according to Melanie Kendrick, a Pasco senior planner.
The coastal redevelopment plan overall goes by the name “The Harbors,” Kendrick explained in recent remarks at New Port Richey City Council. Also called the West Market area, the section extends roughly from a bit east of Little Road all the way west to the Gulf.
West Pasco is so diverse, however, planners subdivided it into 12 districts or neighborhoods, Kendrick noted. Pasco records show the Embassy area has the highest concentration of residents here, more than 44,000 among the coastal population of 200,000 in the 2010 census count.
Kendrick envisioned developing a “Cotee Blueway” along the Pithlachascotee River from about the Main Street bridge in New Port Richey to the U.S. 19 bridge in Port Richey.
Another concept could convert storm systems into a canal with access to amenities similar to those at John’s Pass, near Madeira Beach.
The county recruited the help of 10 Florida State University students and two faculty members who toured the area May 22 and 23. They visited sites such as such as Nicks Park Boat Ramp in Port Richey.
New Port Richey Councilman Jeff Starkey asked for a timeline when construction might actually start on redevelopment projects.
Economic development funds won’t become available until January as part of the priorities in the renewal of Penny for Pasco, Kendrick explained. A lot of background work is setting up projects for a fairly fast start.
“It didn’t decline overnight,” Councilman Bill Phillips said about the West Pasco area and the city specifically. “It won’t improve overnight.”
New Port Richey officials need to be the “squeaky wheel,” Phillips said. The Harbors plan seems to focus more on the north end of coastal Pasco to suit Phillips.