1. Archive

Clock ticks on myriad projects

(ran East edition)

City Manager Harold Sample laid out an ambitious plan Thursday evening in a "state of the city" briefing for Downtown Dade City Main Street members, including millions of dollars in infrastructure work, annexations and streetscaping.

Much of the work will be pressed through as the Florida Department of Transportation prepares to resurface every downtown thoroughfare, while big box development and new subdivisions strain the city's resources.

All that, while Sample said time is running out for City Hall. A decision on whether to refurbish the crumbling government headquarters building or look at other options must be made.

"Everything I've mentioned is coming up this year," he said. "We are trying to make up for lost time."

Sample, speaking at Main Street's annual corporate meeting, said the city's zoning and growth plans will be overhauled in the coming months as development is looming on every side.

On the south end of town, a major development for the corner of Clinton Avenue and U.S. 301 is expected within three months, he said. Developers plan to build homes on 35 acres on the west end, and another major housing development is in the works for a huge tract between U.S. 301 and Old Lakeland Highway. And new owners of the old Pasco Beverage plant to the north plan to join the city and create a business park on the site.

Meanwhile, the city's aging sewer system and water system is straining to keep up. Annexations require new agreements with Pasco County. Consideration must be given to a new, major southern route around downtown. Streetscaping plans must be rushed, before FDOT begins its paving work. And old building rules are woefully outdated, he said.

"The timetable's ticking," he said.

Outgoing Main Street president Dennis Alfonso urged his members _ a collection of county leaders and business owners _ to get involved and pitch in.

"I'm thinking about what's going on, and it's overwhelming," he said.

2005, Sample said, is going to be huge in Dade City.

Also Thursday, Main Street members re-elected to the board of directors for the coming year Sean Ashburn, owner of Sugarcreek Antiques; Linda Babb, circuit judge; Katherine Britton, real estate broker; Michael Hodges, owner of Hodges Family Funeral Home; Gloria Keith, owner of the Western Edge; Carole Littlefield, manager of Kiefer's Home Furnishings; and Karen Patterson, public guardian.

And members approved the proposed slate of officers for 2005, to be officially installed at the next meeting: president Nancy Johnson; vice president Phil Williams; secretary Carole Littlefield; treasurer Michael Hodges; with members at large Sean Ashburn and Brook Patterson.

In addition, Main Street directors recognized longtime active members Pat German and Claudia Madani as directors emeritus.