Residential areas also need cleanup
Having moved to Pasco some 33 years ago, we have resided in the Embassy Hills section. When we moved here it was a very nice area. All property was well maintained, and it was a pleasure to drive around. In the last 10 to 15 years, I have seen a steady decrease in property upkeep. Soon it will be one big blighted area.
One only needs to drive around and see fallen-down fences, overgrown yards, junk and what have you piled in front of or next to homes; once well-maintained lawns hosting three, four or more cars; blue tarps over roofs, some for over five years; trailers parked in front, not on the side or in back, and I could go on and on.
One reads in the newspapers how the county wants to beautify U.S. 19. Is there a problem with starting with the residential areas first? This area is one of the first that visitors see, and I can only imagine what they think. The old story — "we need more code officers" — well you have them now, so how about some action?
A few months ago, we saw pictures in the paper of county commissioners all congratulating themselves on cleaning up the Colonial Hills area, another area that was sorely overlooked by Pasco County. How about a code enforcement push now through the Embassy and Regency Park area?
I urge commissioners to do so ASAP and tackle the problem before it's too late. I encourage my fellow residents of Embassy and Regency Park to contact the commission, especially Commissioner Jack Mariano, who is our representative in this area.
Ernie Stetz, Port Richey
Things looking up at Hacienda Hotel
Our once-grand and glorious roaring '20s-era Hacienda Hotel sat empty downtown for a decade. I felt embarrassed whenever I walked by and observed its broken windows and rundown condition.
A few years ago, our City Council put out a call to city residents to come out and start fixing the place up. Hordes responded, cleaned it up, and painted its outside. Enthusiasm ran wild.
The city then got a large Florida grant for structural repairs, put up a chain-link fence, and there she sat, vacant and still abandoned, after the repairs were done. No question much work remained. A potential outside partnership to develop it into a boutique hotel failed to move forward.
People continued to request that city management take down the fence. Meanwhile, Friends of the Hacienda decided to put on a roaring '20s-style gala ball, and the fence came down. The outside is already quite beautiful.
On a recent Saturday, nearly 200 of us experienced the first gala held in the hotel ballroom in 30 years. Citizen-members of Friends of the Hacienda skillfully used smoke and mirrors to decorate the ballroom superbly and got the place electrified and air conditioned. We enjoyed live music, dancing, appetizers and beverages. At least half the guests dressed in roaring '20s style. We had a blast.
New Port Richey folks, with the help of good government, got it done. I feel very excited to see what more can be accomplished as other major parts of the restoration continue to move forward.
Congratulations, Friends of the Hacienda!
Louis Parrillo, New Port Richey