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Pasco entices bike enthusiasts and others with first tourism welcome center

The Spoke will give visitors information about Dade City and other Pasco points of interest.
Pasco tourism officials and Dade City leaders have opened the county's first welcome center. Attending the ribbon cutting are Dade City Commissioner Normita Woodard, Dade City Commissioner Knute Nathe, Dade City Commissioner Scott Black, Pasco County Commissioner and Tourist Development Council Chairman Mike Moore, Dade City Mayor Camille Hernandez, Pasco County Commissioner Ron Oakley, Experience Florida’s Sports Coast Director Adam Thomas.
Pasco tourism officials and Dade City leaders have opened the county's first welcome center. Attending the ribbon cutting are Dade City Commissioner Normita Woodard, Dade City Commissioner Knute Nathe, Dade City Commissioner Scott Black, Pasco County Commissioner and Tourist Development Council Chairman Mike Moore, Dade City Mayor Camille Hernandez, Pasco County Commissioner Ron Oakley, Experience Florida’s Sports Coast Director Adam Thomas. [ Pasco County ]
Published Jan. 10

DADE CITY — City and county leaders hope Pasco’s first visitor center, on the edge of Dade City’s historic Church Avenue and adjacent to the Hardy Trail, will showcase the best the community has to offer for a wide variety of interests.

Through a partnership between Dade City and Pasco’s Experience Florida’s Sports Coast destination management organization, officials last month cut the ceremonial ribbon to open the Spoke. The name reflects both Dade City’s past connection with railroads and it’s modern bicycle and walking trail system, which connects with surrounding communities.

The Spoke is a 1,100-square-foot facility located on historic Church Avenue at Eighth Street, where a train depot once welcomed visitors to Dade City. The open-concept plan, built through a $250,000 allocation from Experience Florida’s Sports Coast and the Pasco County Commission, will feature displays that introduce visitors to points of interest in Dade City and throughout Pasco County.

The building was designed to reflect the architectural style of the neighborhood. The inside will feature a mobile exhibit space as well as print and video media, while providing additional space to host a shop or other retail offering. Restrooms are also available. Visitors will be able to rest under the covered porches, refill their water bottles or tune up their bicycles after riding on Hardy Trail and collect information on activities available within a short drive.

The Spoke, the newly opened visitor center on Church Avenue in Dade City.
The Spoke, the newly opened visitor center on Church Avenue in Dade City. [ Experience Florida's Sports Coast ]

The building is located in a 2.3 acre city park which will someday feature a splash park, an inclusive and accessible playground for children with disabilities, nature trail and an outdoor amphitheater. City officials have also been collecting community ideas to name the park, Dade City Mayor Camille Hernandez said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The park is located at 37800 Church Avenue, at the beginning of the nationally designated Historical Church Street District.

The city purchased the park site in late 2019 for $800,000 from the Weitzenkorn Family Partnership, Ltd. to provide amenities to support and promote the central business district. When the city first looked at the site in 2018, the property was appraised at nearly $1.2 million.

Hernandez, who was a long-time member of the county’s Tourist Development Council, was excited about the Spoke, saying “this is part of a bigger vision for our city.”

“I’m excited Pasco County, Florida’s Sports Coast and the City of Dade City were able to collaborate on the Spoke,” Pasco County Commissioner and Tourist Development Council chairperson Mike Moore said in a news release. “Dade City is a popular place for cycling due to the rolling hills and all the trails, so we expect thousands of people to come through here and visit this bike hub.”

Fellow Commissioner Ron Oakley, who is a Dade City native, said during the opening ceremony that the center is needed as the community grows and walkers and bicycling enthusiasts will now have a place to stop and rest.

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Adam Thomas, who heads up Experience Florida’s Sports Coast, called the Spoke “a great destination” and said that the facility fits in with the surroundings.

“What you see here,” he said, “is a structure that is woven into the palette of the community.”