State budget includes $11 million for PHSC performing arts center
WESLEY CHAPEL – The proposed state budget for the coming year includes $11 million for a performing arts for Pasco Hernando State College in Wesley Chapel.
It is the largest line-item earmarked for Pasco County in the $82.3 billion tentative state budget scheduled to be voted upon by the Legislature Friday afternoon. The spending is still subject to gubernatorial veto. The budget year begins July 1.
The appropriation brings to $26 million the total the state has budgeted for the PHSC center, which previously carried a projected cost estimate of $40 million to $60 million. The building’s final form is not clearly defined. At times it has been called a convention center, but it also could be built as a joint project with the Paso School District to include a theater and attached school serving both the state college and high school students as a performing arts academy.
“I think this is great for Pasco County,’’ state Rep Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said in a text message Wednesday evening.
PHSC offices are closed for spring break and officials there were unavailable.
Legislators also included $3 million for the Heritage Lakes Estates flood prevention project that Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a year ago. The money is intended to offset the cost of a 15-year assessment on nearly 1,600 homeowners in the neighborhood to pay off Pasco County’s purchase of 41 undeveloped acres. The county acquired the land in 2014 to settle a zoning dispute over planned residential development that neighbors argued would exacerbate their drainage problems.
And, the Legislature made a second attempt at getting $250,000 for a new kitchen for the county’s elderly nutrition program in Land O’Lakes. Scott also vetoed that appropriation in 2015.
Other Pasco-specific appropriations in the budget include:
• $750,000 for a bicycle trail over U.S. 19 in the city of New Port Richey.
• $750,000 for the Pasco STEM regional aeronautics academy at Sun Lake High School and other locations.
• $750,000 for BayCare community action team and $485,000 for a BayCare veterans intervention program.
• $750,000 for Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services non-custodial parent program serving three counties.
• $700,000 for Bridging Freedom’s therapeutic homes for juveniles traumatized by sex trafficking of children.
• $400,000 funding increase for the Pasco Sheriff’s Office child protective unit.
• $400,000 for a city of Dade City storm water project.
• $300,000 for the AMskills (American Manufacturing Skills Initiative) apprenticeship training program.
• 250,000 for Veterans Alternative.
• $250,000 for a non-profit group seeking to reopen the shuttered Moore Mickens Education Center for vocational training.
• $150,000 for the Pasco Mobile Medical Unit outreach
• $150,000 for pretrial intervention treatment for veterans
• $100,000 for the Lighthouse for the Blind for both Pasco and Hernando counties.
• $75,000 for the Captain Jeffries House renovations in Zephyrhills
• $53,500 for the Pioneer Florida Museum