By Joe Potter
A larger park system, more bicycle and hiking trails, a pedestrian friendly shopping district, clean industry and a new community center were items placed on a wish list for Zephyrhills’ future June 16.
The ideas were presented during a workshop held at Alice Hall Community Center regarding updating the city’s decade-old Comprehensive Redevelopment Plan. About 40 people attended the session that was coordinated by Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc.
Maine-ly New England provided breakfast for the 7 a.m. meeting.
Kimley-Horn is a Sarasota-based consultant working with Zephyrhills to update its Community Development Plan. The plan covers what type of development may occur within a Community Redevelopment Area in downtown Zephyrhills.
The city is in the early stages of updating the plan. It will likely take eight to nine months to complete the process. Additional public meetings will be held during the coming months to receive input from the public, affected property owners, city officials and other interested parties.
Mayor W. Cliff McDuffie said he would like to see Zephyrhills, which is Pasco County’s second largest municipality, attract more businesses and more local jobs.
Another goal would be to see East Pasco YMCA be able to enlarge its facilities at 37301 Chapel Hill Loop and to be able to offer additional programs.
Todd Vande Berg, Zephyrhills’ development director, said a good working relationship exists between the city and Pasco County. That may help to move some of the city’s goals forward, Vande Berg added.
It was noted that skydiving activities, which draw approximately 70,000 visitors to Zephyrhills each year, has an approximately $8 million annual economic impact on the city. Skydive City, located at the Zephyrhills Municipal Airport, is one of the premier skydiving locations in the country. It even draws visitors from Canada, Europe and other nations.
Vande Berg said he thought more residents and businesses could be attracted to Zephyrhills if the city were able to find one key catalyst project that could be developed within the CRA.
“We need to get economic improvement resources imported more to east Pasco,” said Randy Stovall of Pasco-Hernando Community College. “We need to wave our flag every chance we get. We need to be wherever they’re talking about economic development and to make our needs known,” Stovall said.
Realtor Michael Prilliman said Florida Hospital Zephyrhills “is the one thing that has improved the quality of life in Zephyrhills.”
Others attending the meeting also commented upon the positive impact Florida Medical Clinic has had on Zephyrhills.
“It seems like you have a lot of economic development assets to work with. You need to do a better job of identifying the city’s brand and marketing it,” said Kenneth H. Creveling, president of Urbanomic$. The Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.-based firm is a subcontractor to Kimley-Horn. Urbanomic$ specializes in Urban and Real Estate Investments.
Martin P. “Marty” Black of Kimley-Horn said Zephyrhills is already very well associated with the bottled water industry. Zephyrhills bottled water is known throughout the world, Black said.
City Councilwoman Jodi Wilkeson said Zephyrhills has a reputation for being a healthy city in which to live. She suggested more attention could be focused on that aspect to help attract businesses and people to the city.
Kimley-Horn also met with various other groups during sessions held June 16 and June 17 at various locations.
Results of the sessions will be available on Zephyrhills’ city website, www.ci.zephyrhills.fl.us/, Black said.
City’s southern gateway needs facelift
By JOE POTTER
The southern entrance to Zephyrhills along U.S. 301 is blighted and needs to be improved, according to residents and a city consultant working to map the future of Zephyrhills.
Run-down homes, semi-demolished or mostly unsecured mobile homes and dilapidated commercial buildings line both sides of a section of U.S. 301 on the city’s southern side, according to Martin P. “Marty” Black of Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc.
Kimley-Horn is a Sarasota-based consulting firm that is helping Zephyrhills to update its decade old Community Redevelopment Plan.
The plan outlines how development may occur within the city’s Community Redevelopment Area that consists of a several block area in downtown Zephyrhills. The CRA is broadly outlined by 11th Avenue to South Avenue along U.S. 301 and 1st Street to 10th Street along State Road 54. Tax dollars generated by improvements within the CRA are set aside to pay for projects within the CRA, including streetscape, façade improvements and infrastructure.
Most of the approximately 40 people attending Wednesday’s meeting at Alice Hall Community Center agreed the city’s other gateways – from U.S. 301 north, State Road 54 West, and Eiland Boulevard/County Road 54 – presented a much better overall impression of the city.
Todd Vande Berg, the city’s development director, said many people are unaware of where the city limits begin on the south side. Generally speaking, properties at C Avenue and to the north are within the city. Properties south of that location are in the county, Vande Berg explained. The city does not have control over blighted areas in the county, he continued.
Roundabouts could make some Zephyrhills intersections safer
By JOE POTTER
Having roundabouts at key Zephyrhills intersections could help traffic to flow more safely and reduce the number of accidents an engineer told city officials Wednesday.
Ken Sides was participating in one of several workshops held Wednesday by Kimley-Horn and Associates. The Sarasota-based firm is helping Zephyrhills to revamp its Community Redevelopment Plan.
A roundabout is a type of circular intersection with yield control of entering traffic, islands on the approaches, and appropriate road curvature to reduce vehicle speeds said a Federal Highway Administration brochure provided by Sides.
Handling how traffic flows through the city’s Community Redevelopment Area is one of the objectives of the plan that is now approximately 10 years old. The CRA is roughly bounded by 11th Avenue to South Avenue along U.S. 301 and 1st Street to 10th Street along State Road 54.
There are currently four roundabouts in Tampa and 18 in Clearwater.
Roundabouts are used to slow the speed of vehicles navigating through an intersection. Reducing vehicle speeds helps to reduce the likelihood of collisions and the severity of injuries incurred if a collision does occur, Sides said.
A study by the FHA shows roundabouts reduce fatalities by more than 90 percent. Also, a roundabout reduces the so-called “kill zone” in a regular signalized intersection by three quarters. And the likelihood of a vehicle-pedestrian accident in a roundabout is reduced by two thirds compared to a regular signalized intersection, Sides said.
Modern roundabouts differ from traffic circles that have been used in various places in the United States for more than 100 years, Sides said. The older traffic circles lack the effectiveness of modern roundabouts because they do not adequately reduce the speed of vehicles entering the circle, Sides continued.
The presentation by Sides, the engineer, was intended to give city officials some options to consider as the Community Redevelopment Plan is revised over the next several months.
No specific intersections in Zephyrhills have been identified at this point as likely candidates for a roundabout.
More information about the sessions Kimley-Horn has been holding on the Community Redevelopment Plan will soon be posted on the city’s website at http://www.ci.zephyrhills.fl.us/.
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