I can’t believe it is Christmas already. I finished up my shopping yesterday. I’d like to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year.
Back when I was a bit younger, I was a fan of a TV show called “M.A.S.H.” For most of its time on the air, the Commanding Officer was Col. Henry Potter (played by Henry Morgan). When he heard someone make a statement that was obviously false, he often responded: “Horse Puckey”
I attended a “Harbors” meeting last Monday night. The students from FSU offered their vision for a future for New Port Richey and Port Richey. Some of their ideas were good. Some of their ideas were not so good. We’ll kick around some of their better ideas as we look a ways to make improvements along US 19 and the “Palm District” portion of Main Street.
Near the conclusion of the meeting, a West Pasco business person stated that nothing had changed for the better in the last dozen years in New Port Richey and that we shouldn’t expect anything to change in the future. To quote Col. Potter, “Horse Puckey”.
Allow me to give you a few examples of things that are happening right now:
The Dulcet restaurant is scheduled to open on New Years Eve. This restaurant will be a bit more upscale than others in town. You can check out their website, including their menu selections.
It is my understanding that the restaurant will turn into a jazz club at 10pm. This is one of the most exciting new restaurants to open downtown in years.
Many of you remember the Cafe Grand right across the street from the Richey Theatre. A new restaurant, serving breakfast and lunch, will be opening there shortly after the first of the year.
A growing church has just leased the building on Main Street that used to house the formal wear shop. My wife and I stopped by Friday evening to welcome them downtown and they told us they were going to have the place ready for Christmas Eve.
Right around the corner from the new church is the site planned for a coffee shop. You’ll probably remember it as location of the appliance repair shop that occupied that spot for years. One of the folks who is spearheading this project popped into my office all excited last week to tell me they had a signed agreement for the space.
The idea of having a coffee shop right across the parking lot from our business incubator is a stroke of genius. It is well known that creative types often come up with their next great idea by bouncing ideas off each other while fully caffeinated.
I’m looking forward to seeing the coffee shop open. It promises to be a great place to meet clients.
Right down the street from my office is a little brick building that has just been taken over by the Society of St. Vincent DePaul. This location will serve as a “home base” for employees of this charity as they go out into the field to work with their clients.
Between the St. Vincent DePaul office and my office there is yet another business moving into the downtown: Heron Publishing. They do specialized publishing for Chambers of Commerce all over Florida. They picked OUR downtown for their headquarters.
Moving trucks have been the order of the day for the last several weeks in our little corner of the world.
I’m aware of other firms that are taking a serious look at moving into one of the rapidly disappearing empty spaces downtown. If you have a company and want your company to be in the middle of all the action in West Pasco, you best not delay looking at a spot in downtown New Port Richey.
I fully expect that we will be approving a contract for the redevelopment of the Hacienda Hotel at the first council meeting in February. The renovation work necessary to restore the Hacienda to its former glory should start shortly thereafter.
Plans for the remake of Sims Park are proceeding. I am hopeful that at least some of the work will be done between now and Chasco so that we don’t run into problems with the rainy season and the multiple special events that happen in the park between Chasco and the fall.
The projects I’ve listed this week are just the top of the proverbial iceberg. There is a LOT more going on that promises to transform our city.
Nothing changing for the better in New Port Richey? Col. Potter had it right.
Rob Marlowe, Mayor