Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dade City candidates offer ideas for city's growth

DADE CITY — Gathered on a balmy Saturday morning under the carport of Patty Titsworth's manufactured home, about 30 residents of the Pines talked about how Dade City is — and how it could be.

"How many antique stores do we really need?" asked Titsworth, who hosted the informal session with three of the Dade City Commission candidates at her home. "Aren't there different options that would bring more life to town?"

Next month, residents will get to pick two members of the commission that will help chart the course for the city's growth. And while all four candidates agree business development is a top priority, they differ in their ideas for accomplishing that goal.

Incumbent Bill Dennis served on the commission during the years when the area was largely orange groves. "Dade City used to be a total citrus company town," Dennis said. "When the Lykes Pasco Plant shut down, the chamber and Main Street went to work on revitalizing the economy."

"We were suffering from old attitudes and I fought for changes even though I was on the wrong end of some 4-1 votes," he continued. "Today, we need to attract businesses which have specific formulas, and we're trying to get closer to meeting their criteria."

Dennis said incentives can help, noting lowered fees helped bring the Hampton Inn to Dade City.

Residents said they'd like to see a movie theatre, a playground or YMCA type of facility to engage youth and family activities.

Jeanie Germain, a title company officer running for the seat being vacated by Curtis Beebe, said the city should step up code enforcement efforts to clear up blight, which would attract new investors. She described this opportunity as "an avenue of a life journey with fresh eyes."

Her opponent, Jim Shive, cited his 30-plus years of "hands on" involvement with the city, including his work in the city's utility department and faithful attendance at commission meetings. He said the city should establish better relationships with the private sector.

"We need to invest in cleaning up the gateways and tapping into Saint Leo University for more involvement," he said. "It would also help to work with Jim Guedry, who successfully expanded the Dade City Business Center. In general we need to consider more outreach and incentives."

He criticized the city for spending too much on consultants.

"On the commission, it's your obligation to do research about cost-benefits toward progress," he said.

The Rev. Clyde Carter, who is challenging Dennis for his seat, was the only candidate not in attendance Saturday. The gathering began as a planned meeting between Germain and the Pines residents, then grew to include Dennis and Shive after they learned about it. Carter did not hear of the meeting in time to attend.

Still, Carter agreed with the need to attract more development, and said the city should revamp its fees to become more attractive to businesses.

"Reach out to new family friendly entertainment, or how about an arcade for the kids?" said Carter, who ministers at St. John Missionary Baptist Church.

All of the candidates also agreed on one more thing: The need for better communication between City Hall and the residents.

Residents of the Pines are concerned that the Morningside Drive extension will create a traffic snarl in front of their neighborhood off State Road 52, and said they should have been more involved in the planning of the project. They drew a comparison to the wastewater treatment plant controversy in the Mickens-Harper neighborhood, where residents weren't informed of the plans to build a reclaimed water tank and other plant upgrades.

The candidates agreed the city should do a better job of informing residents about the proposed projects in their communities.

"We used to require the city to send notice letters to impacted citizens," Dennis said. "We have a bulk mail permit and should reactivate that practice."

>>If you go

Hear from the candidates

The Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce will host a candidate forum at 7 p.m. Monday at the Hornbuckle Banquet Room at the Dade City Business Center, at U.S. 301 and Citrus Country Drive. The public is invited to attend this free event and to submit written questions to the moderators for consideration.

For more information, call the Dade City chamber at (352) 567-3769.

Dade City candidates offer ideas for city's growth 03/20/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 7:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. What you need to know for Thursday, May 25

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    To catch a ring of poachers who targeted Florida's million-dollar alligator farming industry, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission set up an undercover operation. They created their own alligator farm, complete with plenty of real, live alligators, watched over by real, live undercover wildlife officers. It also had hidden video cameras to record everything that happened. That was two years ago, and on Wednesday wildlife officers announced that they arrested nine people on  44 felony charges alleging they broke wildlife laws governing alligator harvesting, transporting eggs and hatchlings across state lines, dealing in stolen property, falsifying records, racketeering and conspiracy. The wildlife commission released these photos of alligators, eggs and hatchlings taken during the undercover operation. [Courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission]
  2. Trigaux: Amid a record turnout, regional technology group spotlights successes, desire to do more

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — They came. They saw. They celebrated Tampa Bay's tech momentum.

    A record turnout event by the Tampa Bay Technology Forum, held May 24 at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, featured a panel of area tech executives talking about the challenges encountered during their respective mergers and acquisitions. Show, from left to right, are: Gerard Purcell, senior vice president of global IT integration at Tech Data Corp.; John Kuemmel, chief information officer at Triad Retail Media, and Chris Cate, chief operating officer at Valpak. [Robert Trigaux, Times]
  3. Take 2: Some fear Tampa Bay Next transportation plan is TBX redux

    Transportation

    TAMPA — For many, Wednesday's regional transportation meeting was a dose of deja vu.

    The Florida Department of Transportation on Monday announced that it was renaming its controversial Tampa Bay Express plan, also known as TBX. The plan will now be known as Tampa Bay Next, or TBN. But the plan remains the same: spend $60 billion to add 90 miles of toll roads to bay area interstates that are currently free of tolls. [Florida Department of Transportation]
  4. Hailed as 'pioneers,' students from St. Petersburg High's first IB class return 30 years later

    Education

    ST. PETERSBURG — The students came from all over Pinellas County, some enduring hot bus rides to a school far from home. At first, they barely knew what to call themselves. All they knew was that they were in for a challenge.

    Class of 1987 alumni Devin Brown, from left, and D.J. Wagner, world history teacher Samuel Davis and 1987 graduate Milford Chavous chat at their table.
  5. Flower boxes on Fort Harrison in Clearwater to go, traffic pattern to stay

    Roads

    I travel Fort Harrison Avenue in Clearwater often and I've noticed that the travel lanes have been rerouted to allow for what looks like flower boxes that have been painted by children. There are also a few spaces that push the travel lane to the center that have no boxes. Is this a permanent travel lane now? It …