New Port Richey is setting the stage for continuing our redevelopment efforts in the coming year. Members of the city council will be meeting Tuesday evening at 6pm as members of the New Port Richey Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA).
The CRA was established some 20 plus years ago to address blight and coordinate efforts to redevelop the city. Over the years, the CRA has been involved in numerous projects including Main Street Landing, The Central on Orange Lake, and the Hacienda. The CRA has also funded any number of fix-up and other grants for homeowners and businesses.
Tuesday night’s agenda includes three major initiatives:
First up will be a discussion of a proposed parking structure east of U.S. 19 and south of Main Street. The proposal is for a parking garage with something in the neighborhood of 350 spaces. Some of the spaces will be used by Keiser University. Some of the spaces may be used by a hotel proposed immediately south of Keiser University. The rest of the spaces will be available for use by businesses along the stretch of Main Street between River Road and US 19. If approved, it is anticipated that the design and construction of the parking garage will be completed in time for Keiser’s opening in April of 2021.
Next up will be a proposal for a Trail Feasibility Study. This study would identify the gaps in our current trail system. The idea is to formalize trail routes necessary to fill in the gaps in our existing multi-use trail system and connect everything between the Starkey Trail and the US 19 Trail. The county has been working on connecting the US 19 trail and other trails to the Pinellas Trail. We already have trails between the Starkey Trail at Congress & Mass, all the way to Grand Blvd and via Madison to Central Avenue. We also have a trail along Marine Parkway. Tying all of this together will go a long way toward making our city more pedestrian and bicycle friendly. There have been some preliminary route options presented in the past. This study would formalize the routing and come up with cost estimates.
The two properties north of the boat ramp include the old pediatrics office and the empty lot just north of it. Acquisition of these two properties would allow for the boat ramp parking to be significantly increased. Because of how small the on-site parking currently is, trailer traffic backs up onto River Road all the way to Main Street.
The third property is on the south side of Acorn Street, east of River Road. It is a small parcel and not suitable for boat launching. It might be an interesting area for launching canoes and kayaks.
We’ll be accepting public comment on all three of these items as they come up for discussion. IN THEORY, you can call in during the meeting, but that may be difficult. My recommendation would be for you to email firstname.lastname@example.org before Tuesday afternoon if you have any thoughts on any of these.
As I mentioned in my last NPR Note, we’ve been looking at ways we can make it easier for our businesses to meet the indoor occupancy limits and still get back to something approaching normal capacity. At last Tuesday night’s city council meeting, we had a rather wide ranging discussion on the topic and instructed the city manager and city attorney to work out the details on how to make it possible for our bars and restaurants to spread out onto Railroad Square without having to pull a special event permit. The bars are still closed except for take out, but we are trying to get ready for the day when the governor modifies his emergency order to allow them to open.
Finally, today is Mother’s Day. Please be sure to reach out and thank the mothers in your life.
Rob Marlowe, Mayor