1. News
  2. /
  3. Pasco

New Port Richey is far nicer than people think, council members say

The city is paying more than $44,000 for a marketing and branding campaign to convey that message.
New Port Richey City Hall ALICE HERDEN | Special to the Times
New Port Richey City Hall ALICE HERDEN | Special to the Times
Published Feb. 12

NEW PORT RICHEY — The emergence of a bustling nightlife scene, a busy downtown park and a new residential market in downtown New Port Richey has been fruitful, but not enough to squash negative perceptions of the revitalized city.

So said New Port Richey City Council members during a work session Tuesday as the city heard more about a marketing and branding plan for its downtown and U.S. 19 corridor.

The city’s consultant, Greenville, S.C.-based Arnett Muldrow and Associates, discussed with council members its vision for New Port Richey. Followup meetings will seek public input on the plan.

Consultant Aaron Arnett — whose firm is being paid $44,600 for the project — suggested it would include new logos, slogans describing what the city has to offer, surveys to gauge community perceptions, market analysis to determine economic development strategies, the creation of advertising templates and so-called “wayfinding” to help visitors traverse the area.

Arnett asked council members what they believe the current perception is of the city, and some frustration emerged.

Good things are happening downtown, council members said, such as the newly built apartments, renovation of the Hacienda Hotel and renovation of downtown real estate that have turned the tide of struggling economics and empty streets in the wake of the last recession.

But those good things have not ended perception problems for the city among members of the public and on social media, Deputy Mayor Jeff Starkey said. He still combats commentary that the city is “dirty” and “rundown.”

Starkey also asked Arnett to look for ways to differentiate between the footprint of the city and the sizable portion of Pasco County that has a New Port Richey address, but is not in the city. Starkey said he often fields negative inquiries about crime and blight outside the city.

“That’s been a huge, huge obstacle,” he said.

Mayor Rob Marlowe concurred, saying the city has about 16,000 residents, while some 150,000 people have New Port Richey addresses. New Port Richey Police Chief Kim Bogart said media reports about crime in the county often are not clearly defined as happening outside the city.

“It’s blamed on the city. I get this all the time,” Bogart said.

City Council member Chopper Davis touched on why he pushed for a marketing effort for the city. Davis said he often hears a similar refrain as he talks with visitors downtown.


  1. A "for sale" sign beckons Friday along Sixth Avenue N in the Kenwood area of St. Petersburg.
  2. Dale Massad appears in court for a motion hearing on his bond status on March 14 the at West Pasco Judicial Center in New Port Richey. Massad is charged with attempted murder after authorities said he shot at a Pasco County Sheriff's Office SWAT team.
  3. First Lady Casey DeSantis talks with students during the Hope for Healing a mental and substance abuse initiative held Roland Park K-8 School in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, May 16, 2019. Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said state officials worked closely with DeSantis to craft the new rule. OCTAVIO JONES | Times
  4. A wrong-way driver headed south in the northbound lanes of Interstate 75 in Pasco County caused a crash that resulted in the death of a 45-year-old motorcyclist, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.  Over a three-year period ending in 2018, the county averaged 97 traffic fatalities annually. [Florida Highway Patrol]
  5. New Port Richey City Hall
  6. Pasco School District headquarters in Land O' Lakes
  7. The attendance zones for Northwest, Gulf Highlands and Fox Hollow elementary schools would shift under a proposed rezoning that also includes the closing of Hudson Elementary.
  8. Brian Davison is chief executive officer of Equialt, which bought this Safety Harbor home in a tax deed sale. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission contends in a new lawsuit that EquiAlt is a Ponzi scheme, and Davison has diverted investor funds for his own lavish personal spending. Times (2015)
  9. Associate professor of biology Caitlin Gille leads the Pasco-Hernando State College faculty union, which challenged the school's public comment rules.  (Photo Courtesy of Caitlin Gille)
  10. The fields are set for the April municipal elections in Pasco County. Times (2012)
  11. The developers of Avalon Park West in Wesley Chapel are planning a $736 million downtown core to accompany nearly 2,700 residences and 355,000 square feet of commercial and office space in a walkable neighborhood. . As part of the deal, Pasco County will consider kicking  in a $33 million 30-year incentive, mostly a tax rebate to help with infrastructure costs.
  12. Pasco County commissioners introduced an ordinance Tuesday governing upkeep of empty property after residents complained about the condition of the Links Golf Club in Hudson, which closed in June 2019.