Can it already be Thanksgiving? I’m not sure where the last month or two have gone.
One thing is for certain: I’ve been busy, both with my “day job” as a computer geek and my job serving as your mayor. I’m not complaining.
I’m thankful for the transformation of New Port Richey that becomes more apparent every day.
Kelly Maki had the opportunity to expand her White Heron Tea Room into the old Karen’s Gifts space, adding all of the neat stuff Karen stocked before she retired. Kelly’s Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting was a great success, with folks packing the White Heron.
Beef O’Brady’s opened to big crowds and that is continuing. Combined with our great local restaurants downtown, there simply isn’t a good reason not to head to New Port Richey when you get hungry.
Last month’s tours of the Hacienda attracted hundreds more people than the volunteers could handle. The Friends of the Hacienda have scheduled another tour day for December 3rd.
The Cameo Antique Mall, a fixture for ages in the old Potter Brothers IGA space closed and the building was sold. Yes, I know what is planned to replace the Antique Mall and no, I’m not going to steal anyone’s thunder by announcing it for them. Lets just say that I am VERY happy and hope the new business opens soon.
We are seeing new businesses opening on Main Street west of the bridge. The best corn on the cob I’ve ever had came from the new produce place a couple of doors down from the Sno Shack. Dino’s Liquidation Shop also opened in the same shopping plaza.
A little over two years ago, we opened a business incubator in the old Post Office building. The initial mix of startups was tech heavy. The geek in me was not unhappy to see us start to build a local tech community. As I’ve mentioned previously, we have Google developers who live in New Port Richey and commute to Tampa, so why not bring tech jobs to New Port Richey?
Today, the old Post Office building houses Tampa Bay Multimedia, a web broadcast company with five studio sets in the back of the building. The building also houses Hometown Networks, a new company planning on revolutionizing the Internet “broadcasting” of high school sports. Given that one of the principals of Hometown Networks transformed college sports broadcasting when he invented ESPN, I’m not going to bet against them.
Saturday, I had the privilege of attending the ribbon cutting for yet another innovative business: Racing4Vets. This non-profit helps returning vets reintegrating into society by working on race cars. Race cars in New Port Richey? You bet.
New Port Richey used to be dead after dark. That is no longer true. The sidewalks are full and people are enjoying the opportunity to walk around and visit our many restaurants and watering holes.
One of the things I’m most pleased with that we accomplished during my term as mayor has been the recreation of Sims Park into an amazing gem that attracts people by the hundreds even when there aren’t any special events going on. We’ve had plenty of special events take advantage of the park too. We’re looking at needing to limit the scheduling of big events to give the park an opportunity to recover between them! I must say that crowds coming to New Port Richey virtually every weekend is a nice problem to have.
We’ve still got a lot to do.
The block party my neighborhood threw a week ago needs to be replicated all around the city. Neighbors getting to know other neighbors over a covered dish dinner and music. We took over a one block section of the street and had a party. We’ve done this twice now and I’m looking forward to the next block party in my neighborhood.
The city has started the process of cleaning up the residential neighborhoods. Sensible parking restrictions, the new urban agriculture ordinance, the new shopping cart ordinance, and instituting external inspections of rental units are all steps in that direction. We aren’t “there” yet, but improving the curb appeal of our residential neighborhoods will boost our home values over time.
The New Port Richey Main Street group has come up with more great ideas in the last twelve months than in the previous twelve years. Bob Smallwood and his group deserve a LOT of credit for stepping outside their comfort zone and looking at new ways to help the city remake itself into something truly amazing. Most of what they’ve been looking at is still in the discussion phase, but I suspect we will see them becoming much more visible in the very near future.
So much positive change is going on all around us. I’d like to think my leadership as mayor has been the driving force, but I know better. I recognize that the entire city council and our amazing city staff deserve most of the credit. We share a vision of what New Port Richey can become and we are taking the steps necessary to get us from where we were to where we should be.
I’m excited about the work ahead and I’ve taken the initial steps necessary to run for reelection in 2017. I have created a campaign website at http://robmarlowe2017.com.
I look forward to our continuing efforts to remake New Port Richey into the best city in Tampa Bay.
This Saturday is the annual Small Business Saturday. Please drop by our local merchants on Saturday and shop with them.
Finally, I want to wish a very Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of you.
Rob Marlowe, Mayor