Wrong turn creates a new path for opportunities

Sammy Ortiz was headed to the annual Dade City Kumquat Festival a couple of years ago, but instead of taking the usual turn onto Meridian Avenue, he wound up on Lock Street. The Wesley Chapel man was astounded. He could not believe the difference between the conditions along Lock Street and the Southern charm of downtown Dade City. Lock Street, roughly a mile away from downtown, “looked … [Read more...]

Road extension expected to spur economic growth

Construction on the State Road 56 extension began in February and is expected to wrap up in late 2019. When finished, the new four-lane segment will provide a 6-mile link between Zephyrhills and Wesley Chapel. The extension will be from Meadow Pointe Boulevard in Wiregrass Ranch to U.S. 301 in Zephyrhills. The road project also will add a 10-foot wide multi-use trail on the south side … [Read more...]

Residents help identify flood risk areas in Pasco

The Southwest Florida Water Management District is updating computer-model maps that identify flood prone areas within Pasco County. Residents at several community meetings have provided public input to the process by sharing first-hand where flooding happens, and also where it doesn’t. On Nov. 16, residents within the Duck Lake watershed got their turn to study existing maps and meet … [Read more...]

The Samaritan Project appoints new leadership

Roxanne Geisenheimer is the new executive director of The Samaritan Project of Zephyrhills, according to a news release from the nonprofit organization. The Samaritan Project is a one-stop program that helps people in Zephyrhills who need help with rent, housing, food and utility bills. Local business owners and the Zephyrhills-Wesley Chapel Ministerial Association started the project in … [Read more...]

Zephyrhills considers some fee increases

The City of Zephyrhills is updating its comprehensive list of fee schedules — and many come tagged with price increases. The proposed fee resolutions and amendments incorporate public record requests, venue rental policies, cemetery lots, and site plan reviews, among others. The fees were discussed during an hour-long city council workshop meeting on Oct.  23. Perhaps the largest … [Read more...]

This event wants to attract Bugs

If you’ve ever wanted to see a lot of bugs in one place — VW Bugs, that is — the Florida Bug Jam is the place to do it. This year’s 29th annual Florida Bug Jam is set for Nov. 11 and Nov. 12 at the Pasco County Fairgrounds. Vendors of new parts, swap items and food are encouraged to set up on the evening of Nov. 10 or early Nov. 11. Spectators will be admitted on both Nov. 11 and Nov. … [Read more...]

Seeking to improve Zephyrhills’ code enforcement

The city of Zephyrhills is taking a hard look at its code enforcement policies — in an effort to maintain property values and make the community more desirable. According to City Manager Steve Spina, that starts with taking “a holistic view” on the issue. “When people come to visit, they need to drive through town and see a vibrant commercial business community, a vibrant downtown,” Spina … [Read more...]

Woodland Elementary gets $12 million makeover

The signs of construction are everywhere at Woodland Elementary School, at 38203 Henry Drive in Zephyrhills. The beeping sounds of equipment backing up fill the air, as crews from Wharton-Smith Inc. Construction Group move about, working on a new building that’s going up on campus. The 25,274-square-foot building includes eight classrooms, a music room, an art room, a stage, a cafeteria … [Read more...]

Zephyrhills council approves fire assessment fee study

The City of Zephyrhills may be adding fee assessments, as a reliable measure to boost the city’s general fund and support operations. The city council unanimously approved a study analyzing the impact of a fire assessment fee, during a regularly scheduled meeting on Oct. 23. City Manager Steve Spina said a fire assessment fee — placed on individual property owner parcels throughout the city … [Read more...]

New Zephyrhills police chief has a familiar face

Derek Brewer’s official promotion to Zephyrhills Police Chief was just weeks ago — yet he’s no stranger to the uniform, or to the community he’s tasked to serve. The 45-year-old Brewer was appointed the city’s permanent, full-time police chief on Sept. 25. He was sworn-in two weeks later, on Oct. 9. Brewer, however, already had months of familiarity with the position. He served as interim … [Read more...]