Downtown Dade City to get flood relief

Puddle jumping in downtown Dade City is often a rainy day sport especially along Seventh Street, the spine of downtown’s business district.

Sidewalks can quickly overflow, forcing pedestrians to hunt for spots less than ankle deep to cross from one side of the street to the other. Other downtown streets, including Meridian, Pasco and Live Oak avenues, also see the waters rise.

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But, $1.4 million embedded in the state’s 2018 budget could go a long way toward easing the chronic flooding. The funds are among local requests that survived the budget veto pen of Gov. Rick Scott.

The money will pay to retrofit Dade City’s stormwater system by expanding a retention pond and installing a larger culvert system to drain off the rainfall.

According to the application presented to the state legislature, the project will “improve safety, attract new businesses and improve the local economy.”

It is something area business owners have wanted for a long while. They worry that the flooding keeps some customers from venturing downtown.

“We hope it will make an economic impact on our businesses,” said Joseph DeBono, Dade City’s public works director.

On rainy days, for instance, shoppers need more than an umbrella to try and stay dry in downtown Dade City. They likely need a pair of rain boots.

“It definitely is an issue, and this will help,” said John Moors, executive director for The Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce.

Bids for the project will go out after Oct. 1, when the new fiscal year begins.

Roads included in the project are Seventh, Pasco, State Road 52 and U.S. 98. The city-owned Irvin pond will be enlarged to accommodate more runoff. The estimated cost of $400,000 will be paid with a grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Permits for the work have been approved.

Details on a work schedule for the entire project are to be determined, but the pond renovations will be the starting point, said DeBono.

Other community requests that were approved in the 2018 state budget include:

  • $500,000 for Youth and Family Alternatives
  • $150,000 for the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office for a pilot program to help first-responders suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • $1.2 million for a campus of “therapeutic safe homes” for child victims of sex trafficking.

Published July 5, 2017

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