Thursday, August 16, 2018
Business

Forget U.S. 19 in Pasco; it's now Gulf Coast Highway

NEW PORT RICHEY — Wendy Longman has been operating Windsong Charters for more than a dozen years at U.S. 19 and Marine Parkway, the entrance to Gulf Harbors. Her fleet is up to 54 vessels, including kayaks, canoes, paddle boards, pontoons and the largest, a 34-foot monohull sailboat.

The water is great. The highway leading to her business is not.

"It's just horrible. To the north, to the south, it doesn't matter where it is, it's horrible,'' said Longman, 47, known to most everyone as Capt. Wendy.

As part of the West Pasco Chamber of Commerce's effort to re-brand congested U.S. 19, Longman submitted the suggestion Gulf Coast Highway.

"What would sound better than U.S. 19, the most dangerous highway in America?'' she said. "We're trying to focus on the gulf. This highway is how you get to the gulf. It just kind of made sense to me.''

More than 500 people agreed and picked Gulf Coast Highway as the new name for the 20-mile stretch of the north-south highway running through western Pasco County. Just under 2,000 people voted in the contest, and Gulf Coast Highway won in a landslide, said Greg Armstrong, owner of Coldwell Banker F.I. Grey and Son Residential Inc.

"You've got Pacific Highway, Atlantic Highway, and now we've got Gulf Coast Highway, and it will be easy for people to identify where it is,'' said Armstrong, who acknowledged voting for a different name.

The new highway signs won't go up overnight. The cities of Port Richey, New Port Richey and Pasco County all must hold public hearings and approve of the new name before submitting it to the Florida Department of Transportation and eventually, Armstrong said, to the state Cabinet.

The new name is the first step in a large-scale makeover of the highway after a $72 million, six-year project to add turn lanes and rebuild medians to improve road safety. The chamber and the West Pasco Board of Realtors are spearheading a planned not-for-profit organization to beautify the medians with palm trees and other landscaping to be maintained by local businesses. They also want greater Internet speed available to businesses and are hoping the county can obtain a federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant to bury overhead utility wires.

Some people, Armstrong said, still favored the U.S. 19 name.

"But even then, they admitted the road has issues and it has bad connotations and it in no way implies we're on the Gulf of Mexico,'' he said.

"We've got to try something different. What we've been doing for 40 years didn't work. We made it into a disaster."

Comments
This week in deals: Pub subs on sale, and the best savings at Publix, Winn-Dixie for Aug. 16-23

This week in deals: Pub subs on sale, and the best savings at Publix, Winn-Dixie for Aug. 16-23

I’m going start with it: Chicken tender Pub subs are on sale this week. It’s like a Florida holiday when Publix chicken tender subs are $6.99. Suddenly, offices across the Sunshine State are filled with the aroma of Buffalo sauce as everyone brings b...
Updated: 2 hours ago
South Tampa apartment community sold for $40 million

South Tampa apartment community sold for $40 million

TAMPA — The 276-unit Pavillions at Ballast Point apartment community in South Tampa has been sold for $40 million and will be renamed Solis at Ballast Point. The buyer, California-based Investors Management Group, said it also plans significant inte...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tampa gets its own Bodega in Seminole Heights

Tampa gets its own Bodega in Seminole Heights

St. Petersburg eatery Bodega has built a reputation for its Latin street food and now the fast-casual concept has expanded to a second location in Seminole Heights.Its name Bodega, which means grocery in Spanish, represents the owners, George and Deb...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Gander Outdoors rebounds under new ownership

Gander Outdoors rebounds under new ownership

The Gander sign is back up at Bayport Commons on W Hillsborough Ave. The 30,000 square foot space that once housed Gander Mountain has now reopened as Gander Outdoors.Marucus Lemonis, star of CNBC’s The Profit, bought Gander Mountain assets in bankru...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Finney’s Tiger-Rock Martial Arts moves to larger space

Finney’s Tiger-Rock Martial Arts moves to larger space

TAMPA — For 13 years, Finney’s Tiger-Rock Martial Arts co-owners Troy and Nikki Finney have provided more than just Taekwondo instruction for their students. The husband and wife duo have created a supportive, family environment that teaches valuable...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Walmart shares jump as earnings beat expectations

Walmart shares jump as earnings beat expectations

Update: The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 325 points, or 1.3 percent, early Thursday, driven by a jump in Walmart’s stock.Walmart’s aggressive push into groceries helped same-store sales in the United States grow more in the last quarter than t...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Tampa International Airport debuts new and improved Cigar City Brewery

Tampa International Airport debuts new and improved Cigar City Brewery

When Tampa International Airport officials decided which restaurants would go and which would stay, Cigar City Brewing made a convincing case it needed to stay in the airport’s massive billion dollar redevelopment plan. The local brewery has been imp...
Updated: 5 hours ago
In Republican race for Pinellas County Commission seat, Rep. Kathleen Peters outpacing field

In Republican race for Pinellas County Commission seat, Rep. Kathleen Peters outpacing field

As the Aug. 28 primary election approaches, three Republicans are battling to represent a Pinellas County Commission district that hasn’t witnessed a competitive contest for more than 15 years.State Reps. Larry Ahern of Seminole and Kathleen Peters o...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Deveron Gibbons’ promise of 20 jobs in jeopardy as development plans languish

Deveron Gibbons’ promise of 20 jobs in jeopardy as development plans languish

ST. PETERSBURG — Former mayoral candidate Deveron Gibbons’ plans to develop two acres across the street from Tangerine Plaza — where two supermarkets failed — could be in trouble. His vision for the property at 2100 18th Ave....
Updated: 9 hours ago
Want to win a Florida liquor license?  Entry period starts Monday

Want to win a Florida liquor license? Entry period starts Monday

Bo Butler was in the dentist’s chair a few months ago when the hygienist casually mentioned that her husband had won a Florida liquor license."As soon as she said, ‘Yeah, we can sell it for upwards of $300,000,’ it kind of piqued my interest," Butle...
Published: 08/16/18