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Parking, repaving streets top Dade City's wish list

DADE CITY — More parking, repaved streets and a streamlined city government top the list of goals for the next few years, city commissioners told new City Manager Billy Poe at a workshop Thursday evening.

Mayor Scott Black said the city's parking problem was a good sign, in a way. A lack of spots means people are visiting Dade City's shops and restaurants.

"This is a result of a successful downtown," he said.

Still, more spots are needed. He said a garage might be too expensive, and it might look out of place in the city's quaint downtown. Black suggested the city look into buying land for additional parking.

Commissioners Camille Hernandez and Eunice Penix said they would like to see more sidewalks in the city. Commissioner Steve Van Gorden, who sent in his suggestions via e-mail because he had a work function, agreed. All three of them said that many city streets needed repair or repaving.

Budget concerns shaped much of the discussion. After the passage earlier this year of Amendment 1 to reduce property taxes, Dade City anticipates losing about $300,000 from its general fund.

Commissioners suggested evaluating the current city government organization to see where money could be saved.

Recently elected Commissioner Curtis Beebe said Dade City should jump on the green trend and promote ecologically sustainable development practices.

He cited cities such as Austin, Texas, that he said offer reduced fees to developers who build homes to high ecological standards.

The topic spurred a conversation among commissioners about improving the city's recycling programs.

Beebe also said the city should position itself as "the gateway to the Green Swamp," promoting the latter as an ecotourism destination. "I promise not to start wearing Birkenstocks," he said.

Commissioners will set a date at Tuesday's meeting to further discuss their goals.

Helen Anne Travis can be reached at htravis@sptimes.com or (352) 521-6518.

Parking, repaving streets top Dade City's wish list 05/08/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 14, 2008 11:42am]
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