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. Trump condemns 'evil losers' who carried out Manchester concert attack

    Politics

    BETHLEHEM, West Bank — President Donald Trump condemned the "evil losers" responsible for the deadly attack on concert-goers in England Tuesday and called on leaders in the Middle East in particular to help root out violence.

    President Donald Trump pauses as he makes a statement on the terrorist attack in Manchester, after a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, in the West Bank City of Bethlehem. [Associated Press]
  2. Tampa Bay Times journalists wins 17 Green Eyeshade Awards

    Human Interest

    Tampa Bay Times journalists placed first in seven categories of the prestigious Green Eyeshade awards, which honors outstanding journalism in the Southeast.

  3. A manatee swims near the entrance to Three Sisters Springs on Kings Bay, some of many springs that feed the Crystal River in Citrus County. The Southwest Florida Water Management District is considering a proposal that would allow a decrease to the amount of fresh water flowing in the Crystal River so that water can be diverted to fuel development. Critics say similar proposals around the state could threaten Florida's environmental health. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2014]
  4. Ailing Florida springs could be tapped further to fuel development

    Water

    BROOKSVILLE — Efforts by state officials to set a minimum flow for its iconic springs have stirred up a wave of public opposition. Opponents contend the state is willing to destroy its springs in order to justify continuing to provide water for new development.

    A manatee swims near the entrance to Three Sisters Springs on Kings Bay, one of many springs that feeds the Crystal River in Citrus County. The Southwest Florida Water Management District is considering a proposal to decrease the amount of fresh water flowing in Crystal River so that water can be diverted to fuel development. Critics say similar proposals around the state could threaten Florida's environmental health. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2014
  5. Canned by lawmakers, PTC staff say they are now forgotten

    Transportation

    TAMPA — After roughly 20 years in the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Mike Gonzalez got another job with a uniform and badge when he was hired in 2015 as an inspector for the Public Transportation Commission.

    The badge that PTC inspectors carry while on duty. State lawmakers voted to abolish the agency this year leaving its remaining employees fearing for their future.