Summer doesn’t officially start until the Summer Solstice next month, but you wouldn’t know it from the heat around here this past week.
The City has been getting ready for summer. A number of projects are nearing completion or well underway:
The new shade structures in Sims Park are up. Now all we need to do is re-sod the concert circle and we will be ready for all of the summer events.
Also in Sims Park, we have the second video screen installed. Staff plans to test it and light it up this coming week. Combined with the two new shade structures, there won’t be a bad seat in the house for the Parks and Recreation Department’s Summer Concert Series. The first concert will be a Beach Boy’s Tribute on June 3rd. I hope to see you there.
The other big change downtown is the replacement of the Drake Elms with Chinese Fan Palms.
I’m not sorry to see the elms go. I’ve been cleaning up after the elms for years. They are dirty trees that don’t provide any appreciable shade. The trees that are suitable for relocation will be headed down to the right of way on Grand, near Cecilia, and on Main Street, on the curve just west of Congress. I think both locations will be much better for them.
I am not a fan of palm trees, but I have to admit that the new palms give the downtown a fresh look. The palms have been installed on Grand south of Main and they are currently going in at my end of Grand, just south of Orange Lake.
They will be installed on Main Street between Bank and Adams over the course of the next couple of weeks.
Temporary barriers are already up, but the official groundbreaking for the Rec. Center expansion is scheduled for 11:30 on Wednesday the 31st. This project is the first investment in the Rec Center in a decade and it is long overdue.
Also on Wednesday, we will have our second workshop on Medical Marijuana at 6:00pm in the City Council Chambers. It should be an interesting meeting. Many supporters of medical marijuana are quite passionate about the topic and I expect that we will also hear from representatives of the companies that look to profit from the sale of medical marijuana. Any plans we put in place in New Port Richey are complicated by the fact that the Florida Legislature failed to pass legislation to implement Amendment 2.
You can look forward to street improvements on Madison and Congress this summer, along with a much delayed cleanup of Orange Lake. The Orange Lake project is funded in part with funds from the BP Oil Spill.
There are lots of exciting things in progress in New Port Richey. Stay tuned.
Rob Marlowe, Mayor