It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is already upon us this year. I’m not quite sure where the year has gone. In any event, we have quite a bit to be thankful for.
I’m thankful for the changes that are coming to New Port Richey. We are actually seeing those changes start to take shape. The most noticeable of those changes is the transformation of Sims Park.
If you haven’t driven by the park lately, you need to do so. The new pedestrian friendly brick section of Circle Blvd is well on the way to completion. The plumbing for the splash pad is in place and the new playground equipment should show up shortly.
Other changes are in the wind as well.
I’m thankful for a city council that has a vision for improving our community and the city staff members that are working very hard to see that vision realized. Efforts on a number of fronts are starting to show results. Some of these efforts I can share, some are still in the early stages. Most importantly though, the “we are doomed” attitude of a few years ago has been replaced with a “the best is yet to come” attitude.
I’m thankful for the homeowners and volunteers who brought tons of debris to collection points this past Saturday as part of the second city-wide cleanup day this year. This is debris that you won’t be seeing on the sides of the roads around town or stacked up in yards. These are our neighbors who are taking pride in the appearance of our community and investing their own “sweat equity” to clean things up.
I’m thankful for the programming conflicts between downtown businesses and concerns about the effects street closings have on those businesses. They prove that the downtown is becoming more vibrant and that we will need to deal with parking and access issues sooner rather than later. In my mind, these are not problems, but challenges we need to address as we continue the renaissance in our downtown.
I’m thankful for business owners that are taking a serious look at New Port Richey. Mario Iezzoni brought an entrepreneur by my office Friday. This fellow has a successful seasonal business in the northeast. It is something that would be seriously cool to have here during the winter season. Will we get him to set up shop here? Ask me in a couple of months.
I’m thankful for being able to get together with neighbors. Saturday before last, we had a block party in my neighborhood. Neighbors taking over the street for a covered dish dinner with burgers and hotdogs grilling in one neighbor’s front yard. We even had live music. The band played for tips. I met neighbors I didn’t know and got to spend time with others I hadn’t seen in a while. I’m looking forward to the next time we can all get together to enjoy our neighborhood together. I’d like to see things streamlined to make it easier for other neighborhoods around town to close their street for a block party.
I’m thankful for unexpected surprises. If you haven’t been by Ottaway’s Ice Cream shop on the corner of Bank and Main, you need to stop in and check out their ice cream selection. I will admit to having had low expectations when my wife suggested we eat dinner there. I can tell you from personal experience that they make an awesome hot pastrami sandwich.
I’m thankful for my family and friends. I look forward to joining some of them for Thanksgiving dinner and the subsequent opportunity to sleep through whatever football game is playing on TV afterwards.
Finally, I’m thankful for all of you, especially those of you who have let me know that you’ve read my articles and that you share my dream of a better city. We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but we can and will do it together.
Rob Marlowe, Mayor