Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Survey shows west Pasco residents less pleased with quality of life than east, central neighbors

HOLIDAY — About 70 percent of Pasco residents say the county has a good quality of life, according to a recent survey.

Not bad, right? Especially considering the titanic economic struggles of the past few years.

Dig a little deeper into the numbers. Folks in east and central Pasco are actually sunnier than the countywide average, with nearly 80 percent reporting a good quality of life. Only 56 percent of their west Pasco neighbors agree.

Another question: Is Pasco a good place to raise children? Sure, according to three-quarters of people living in the east and central parts of the county. Along the coast, the figure is 41 percent.

"There isn't much to do for the kids," said Joseph McLain, 34, who rents a home in Holiday's Bonita Village neighborhood with his sister and their grandmother. For years now, younger families have been moving into west Pasco's modest homes that for decades were occupied nearly exclusively with retirees from points north.

"It wasn't fixed to accommodate the younger generation," said McLain, who used to work in construction and had a landscaping business. Now he works a couple of days a week in telemarketing and does odd jobs to pay the bills.

The statistics are from the National Citizen Survey, which in February mailed detailed questionnaires to a representative sample of Pasco households. Just more than 300 families returned the survey, for a 5 percent margin of error. Smaller sample sizes for specific areas of the county mean those figures have an 11 percent error margin.

But many questions have large enough differences that show a clear divide between east and west.

"Those are significant shifts," said Richard Gehring, Pasco's growth management director. "You look at the numbers and it's like, 'Wow, you've got a significant problem here you've got to solve.' "

Gehring said his staff will include some of the survey's results in a west Pasco redevelopment plan he will submit to commissioners in the fall. It will include short- and long-term strategies for different areas along coastal Pasco.

Some questions the plan will look at: How to improve the look and feel of U.S. 19? How to promote green space in the Anclote area? How to redevelop an area such as Hudson and encourage pedestrians in downtown New Port Richey?

Here's another statistic: About six of every 10 residents in central and east Pasco praise the overall appearance of the county. Just a third of west Pasco folk share that view.

"If you drive down 19 and take a good ride down, you'll see a lot of vacant buildings," said County Commissioner Jack Mariano of Hudson. "You've got people that are probably lower income along the coast. They're feeling that struggle, that pinch, where they don't have that free extra money."

Mariano has been a major proponent of SunWest Harbourtowne, a proposed 2,500 home luxury development in Aripeka that he sees as a key to revitalizing northwest Pasco. But a nearby channel has been bogged down in environmental concerns, and the project is likely years away from construction.

Back in Bonita Village, a couple of streets from McLain, is Bob Liseno, 65. He's a former snowbird from Massachusetts who moved down for good six years ago. He acknowledges that newer construction in Land O'Lakes and Wesley Chapel looks more spiffy than west Pasco's strip malls that are showing their age.

"They've got nicer property over there," Liseno said. "Maybe they look down their noses at us. I prefer being over here because you're by the gulf and you've got the breeze."

Like many others across the country and in Tampa Bay, the neighborhood has its issues. "This county, it's a shame with all the drugs," he said.

Liseno recalled a neighbor who recently traded "a beautiful car for 20 of the blues." He was referring to Oxycodone. A dealer was selling the pain pills for $20 apiece, or $400. Liseno estimated the car was worth at least $6,000.

• • •

Christine Foreman is a ray of hope amid all the dour news. In March, the owner of Hammer Time Fitness moved out of her small studio and opened a 2,000-square-foot training center in downtown New Port Richey.

The city "has good bones," she said, a solid foundation. She points to the Gulf of Mexico and Sims Park along the Cotee River. With a little redevelopment work, she thinks the city could be the next Dunedin.

"To me, I think this area has the potential to turn around," she said. "The natural beauty alone on our side is just priceless."

Lee Logan can be reached at llogan@tampabay.com or (727) 869-6236.

Survey shows west Pasco residents less pleased with quality of life than east, central neighbors 06/15/12 [Last modified: Friday, June 15, 2012 7:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Largo commissioners raise ceiling on next year's property tax rate

    Local Government

    LARGO — The proposed budget included a recommendation for the property tax rate to remain the same, but city commissioners on Tuesday unanimously voted to increase the maximum rate in a move to give city officials more flexibility.

    City Manager Henry Schubert says the city needs to take a look at its operation.
  2. Allegiant Air reports $400 million in revenue for second quarter

    Airlines
    Allegiant Air CEO Maurice J. Gallagher Jr. | [Courtesy of Tony Jannus Aviation Society]
  3. Dade City's Wild Things touts cub encounters as conservation, but experts say they lead to too many tigers languishing in cages

    Wildlife

    DADE CITY — A lifelong animal lover, Lisa Graham was intrigued when she saw photos on social media of friends cuddling and petting baby tigers at zoos.

    A tiger named Andy is seen at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa. Big Cat Rescue is a nonprofit sanctuary committed to humane treatment of rescued animals, often coming from exploitive for-profit operations. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times

  4. Once close to death in Ukraine, sick girl finds hope in Tampa Bay

    Human Interest

    Everything was packed for Walt Disney World. Clothes for three nights. The pressurized air vest and pump that travel with her. The dress she would wear to meet Cinderella.

    Marina Khimko, 13, pauses for a moment during a walking exercise to test her prosthetic legs at a fitting appointment Dec. 7 at the Shriners Hospital for Children's Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services in Tampa.  [ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times]
  5. What you need to know for Thursday, July 27

    News

    href="http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2015/graphics/macros/css/base.css"> Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Marina Khimko, now 14, pauses for a moment during a walking exercise to test her prosthetic legs at a fitting appointment at the Shriners Hospitals for Children's Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services in Tampa.  [ANDRES LEIVA | Times]