In most instances, perseverance is a virtue. That certainly is the case with the Pasco County Commission’s steadfast efforts to get the Ridge Road extension built, despite a decade-long regulatory slow-walk. Every so often, however, there can be virtue in deciding that the fates — or the financial bottom line — are too much to overcome. While throwing in the towel may be premature, Pasco County’s plans for SunWest Park, in the Aripeka area, are in need of frank reconsideration.
Last week, county commissioners took an official look at the second round of SunWest Park construction bids. The first request for bids garnered only one response, which was nearly double what the county wants to spend on the park on the Gulf. The rebid produced three responses, but even the lowest bid was over budget. In addition, County Attorney Jeffrey Steinsnyder told commissioners they can’t spend $600,000 in boat license fee revenue on the park, further denting the budget.
In response, commissioners asked Purchasing Director Scott Stromer to work with the low bidder, Cleveland Construction, to see if $1 million could be pared from the cost of the park project. The planned features include beaches, a boardwalk and a privately run wakeboard park.
The Ridge Road extension would provide West Pasco a needed third east-west evacuation route and be an improvement to the area’s road network. SunWest Park, as planned, would be a nice addition to the county’s already abundant recreation assets, but isn’t a necessity. The question that needs to be addressed is, would a SunWest Park plan that would fit the county’s budget still be worth building?