Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Pasco

New Port Richey park getting too much love

The revamped Sims Park is being used more by daily visitors and events drawing thousands. The New Port Richey City Council discusses how to protect its investment.
New Port Richey City Hall  ALICE HERDEN | Special to the Times
New Port Richey City Hall ALICE HERDEN | Special to the Times
Published Dec. 11, 2019
Updated Dec. 11, 2019

NEW PORT RICHEY — The increased popularity of Sims Park following $3 million in upgrades completed in 2016 has been a double-edged sword for city leaders.

The revamped Main Street park has been a major factor in redeveloping New Port Richey’s downtown, but it is taking a pounding from increased daily traffic and special events that draw thousands of people.

The New Port Richey City Council fears that its investment is being trampled. That led to a work session Tuesday called to discuss remedies for controlling and repairing damage from events.

“I walk through the park on a regular basis, and I saw our huge investment just going down the tubes,” Deputy Mayor Jeff Starkey said.

In response to council concerns, city staffers made numerous proposals: banning golf cart use inside the park; scheduling “blackouts” in the events schedule for maintenance, such as putting down sod where grass has been trampled; and tighter restrictions on where vendors can set up trucks and tents.

The biggest change for the public may be not being able to drive golf carts through the park during events. A city ordinance allows golf carts only on city streets, but people frequently drive through the park during events, and the city risks someone getting hurt as a result, City Manager Debbie Manns told council members.

“We have just been sort of turning a blind eye to the fact that they are used there,” she said.

City council members agreed that carts shouldn’t be allowed in Sims Park during non-city events. Instead, they agreed to establishing a designated parking area for golf carts.

Council member Chopper Davis also expressed concern for safety when drinking alcohol is intertwined with driving golf carts.

“Realistically, there is alcohol in these carts, they can go up to 20 mph, and they are mixed in a park with kids,” he said.

In related news, the city plans to better communicate with residents and businesses when it plans to close roads for special events.

Mayor Rob Marlowe, who owns a downtown business, has long called for such measures. And the city has fielded complaints from residents who say they were uninformed of traffic changes prior to an event.

City staffers will handle road-closure notifications, rather than leaving it to event planners. Providing notices in water bills and detailed maps to affected parties would be an way to cut down both costs and complaints, New Port Richey Police Chief Kim Bogart said.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. social card for breaking news in crime, for web only
    The driver lost control and crashed into an overpass wall.
  2. Mike Bishop joins Pasco EDC staff. [Pasco EDC]
    News and notes on Pasco businesses
  3. Former state senator John Legg has not ruled out a run for Pasco County schools superintendent. The district is the nation's largest to elect its chief executive.
    Short answer: Maybe.
  4. But the competition isn’t who many people expected it to be.
  5. Delta Air Lines said Friday it will launch five new round-trip routes a day between Tampa and Miami starting May 4. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) [MARK LENNIHAN  |  AP]
    Delta says the daily nonstop Miami service will create new connections for Tampa travelers to fly to Latin America and other international destinations.
  6. Chris Card, chief of community-based care for Eckerd Connects. His agency is now running the two biggest child welfare jurisdictions in Florida. [Tampa Bay Times]
    They are spending more time outside a permanent home as the county struggles to deal with an increase in removals.
  7. Two babirusa pigs are shown at Lowry Park Zoo in this photo from 1995. A Tampa Bay couple is accused of distributing remnants from exotic animal species, including a babirusa skill. [Tampa Bay Times]
    Novita Indah and Larry Malugin sold more than 3,000 items made from the animals over a period of more than five years, federal officials said.
  8. Ernest Blake Crownover, 19, a lacrosse player at Saint Leo University, was killed in a car crash in Pasco County. [Saint Leo University]
    Troopers identified the teen who was killed as Ernest Blake Crownover, 19.
  9. The Pasco County School District's high school graduation rate rose to 88.3 percent in 2019, surpassing the district's goal of getting to 85 percent by 2020. [Times]
    Cypress Creek had the highest percentage among district schools, while Hudson High had the lowest.
  10. Lynn Cristina is a Wesley Chapel momma with two girls and works full time as a marketing manager. [Courtesy of Lynn Cristina]
    A new year signals time to start over, create change and be who you want to be. I fall victim to this hype every year.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement