This past Tuesday would have been municipal election day in Pasco County. Mayor Tremblay of Port Richey and I were blessed to not have anyone file to run against us, so we were automatically reelected at the close of qualifying in February. The municipal elections in the other three Pasco cities have been delayed “until further notice” because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ll be sworn in for my third term this coming Tuesday evening.
When I decided to run for a third term, I thought I’d have a chance to see us complete a lot of the projects we’ve started over the past six years. That opportunity has now been eclipsed by the need to keep from losing all the progress we’ve made as a city. We have our work cut out for us.
We are looking at ways that New Port Richey can make sure our businesses survive the current crisis so that our downtown can bounce back once things improve. I’m not quite sure what this will look like, but we are exploring various options.
We are taking advantage of the current quiet time to work on some much needed projects. The Gloria Swanson parking lot has been torn up and the contractor is getting ready to rebuild it. The new parking lot will be oriented north/south instead of east/west and adding about 20 much needed new parking spaces in the process. Weather permitting, this project should be done sooner rather than later.
A long planned repaving project for Main Street should kick off the evening of April 20th. Work will be done at night to minimize the disruption during the daytime hours.
The downtown businesses that have stayed open during the current crisis need your help. Rose’s Bistro, Boulevard Beef and Ale, Christiano’s Pizza, The Social, Heros Downtown Subs and Salad, Melt’d, the White Heron and Sip, among others, are all open for take out. Please call in and order take out from your favorite restaurants. Additionally, Pete’s Grand Central, Ordinance One, and Cotee River Brewing are all providing take out beverages. One of our local restaurant owners pointed out how much the online services charge for web orders…20% or more of the total order. Do our restaurants a favor and call your to go orders in directly and please don’t forget to add a tip when you pay.
A number of the “office” type businesses, including several lawyers and my own Gulfcoast Networking, have been operating under the “essential business” exemption to the current shutdown. To the extent possible, all of us have been handling things via the telephone rather than having people just drop in. My company has been doing a lot of our network support remotely for years, so the COVID-19 pandemic has simply forced us to do more of what we were already doing.
Pasco Camera has discovered they can do mail order. Give Jim Smetzer a call if you discover that you’ve got old pictures or videos that need to be converted to DVDs. I found that the battery on my digital camera had died. Jim was able to provide me a new battery one that works great.
Please be safe when you venture out. I’ve got a couple of face masks that I have been wearing. My wife has masks as well. Limit your exposure to strangers and please avoid large groups. The virus is very contagious and very deadly, especially for folks like me who are in one or more of the high risk groups. If we all take care, we’ll all make it through the current crisis and give our medical experts time to come up with treatments that work and get us that much closer to a vaccine that will allow our whole country to return to normal.
Rob Marlowe, Mayor