I saw a TV commercial last week that used the phrase: “The real future kind of sneaks up on you.” There is a lot of truth to that.
We have seen that in New Port Richey. Sometimes things don’t seem to change much from day to day, but the changes over time become significant. Change involves quite a few moving parts.
The Hacienda is a great example. With rare exceptions, not much seems to change, but we continue to make progress. The latest fix is actually noticeable. A crew rebuilt the historic east cooling wall on Saturday.
What makes this a milestone in the rehabilitation of the Hacienda is the reason the original wall was built in the first place: The Hacienda was built in the 1920’s, before the advent of central air conditioning. The original wall was designed to keep the sand next to the Hacienda out of the morning sun. Cool air was drawn into the crawl space below the structure, cooling the entire building naturally.
The new wall will provide the appearance of the original, even though we won’t depend on it to keep the Hacienda cool during the summer.
Look for the wall to receive a stucco treatment that matches the building itself.
One project that was delayed over a year, waiting on the feds to release the funds, is the dredging of Orange Lake. This project is now well underway and should be completed shortly. The dredging will remove all of the accumulated muck on the bottom of the lake, leaving the sandy bottom of the lake exposed to the water.
The muck is pumped over the street via a rather interesting structure and then dumped into big bags where the water is extracted and returned to the lake.
The bags are sitting on the future site of The Central On Orange Lake, which should begin construction shortly after the dredging is complete and all the muck is trucked away.
Regan Weiss did a great video explaining what is happening.
There are quite a few other projects underway in New Port Richey.
The New Port Richey Recreation and Aquatic Center will celebrate the completion of its $1.8 million dollars in upgrades on Saturday, February 17th. The renovations include an expanded fitness area, additional meeting rooms, and an indoor playground for the kids.
That commercial I mentioned was for a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. (Click on the link to see the commercial.) The Outlander PHEVs aren’t around here yet, but they will be and that will likely be sooner than you think.
I was at the Rec Center this afternoon checking out a project just completed by our Public Works Department. As we were standing there admiring their handiwork, a Prius full of people drove by us VERY SLOWLY. I strongly suspect they were focused on my son’s Prius sitting in the end parking space. I was demonstrating how the brand new Chargepoint station works with a plugin vehicle. Clearly, they had never seen a Prius plugged into a charging station.
The future is definitely sneaking up on us. Nissan, Chrysler, and Chevrolet are all selling plug in cars in West Pasco. Some, like the Chrysler Pacifica and the Chevy Volt have gasoline engines. Others, like the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Bolt, are pure electrics with ranges that cover the needs of most people. These aren’t slow econo boxes either. The Bolt has a 0-60 time well under 7 seconds and the new Leaf is a technological marvel. The Pacifica minivan has an EPA rating of 84 MPGe!
I’ll be shocked if the other dealers don’t start stocking plugins soon. Once the general public figures out how affordable they are to operate, demand is going to skyrocket. A friend of mine went to Georgia to pick up a new Prius Prime. She had been driving a regular Prius and wanted a plugin. She loves her new car. That was a sale that Sun Toyota could have had if they had had Prius Primes in stock.
New Port Richey also has a number of Teslas running around town. I have heard that the docs are after the hospital to install Tesla charging stations.
Watch for more charging stations to appear around New Port Richey over the next year, particularly as businesses realize that their customers are driving plugins. There are already Publix, Walgreens, and Whole Foods stores around Tampa Bay with charging stations.
As strange as it may sound, plugging your car in at night is an easy habit to get into and it sure beats regular trips to the gas station. I expect my son to retrieve his Prius within the next year, so I’ll be looking for a new set of wheels. At this point, I’ve decided that my next car will definitely have a plug. It may or may not have a gasoline engine.
As the commercial says: “The real future kind of sneaks up on you, until one day you find yourself plugging in your crossover, like its totally normal.”
Totally normal, Indeed.
Rob Marlowe, Mayor