As 2023 gets started, Dade City is looking toward the future.
And while Pasco County’s oldest city plans to keep its history and small-town feel as vibrant and forefront as possible, officials are excited about its various plans and upcoming projects in store for the ever-changing town.
“Absolutely, it is an exciting time to be in Dade City and for our residents,” City Manager Leslie Porter said. “We have a number of projects in development and it would be hard to pick just one we are most excited about.”
However, Porter acknowledged she is perhaps most enthused about the Seventh Street Streetscaping Improvement Project the city is about to undergo, which is “basically going to change to a whole new look” in the downtown Dade City area, Porter said.
“The feedback and concern we always get is that Seventh Street is like a raceway,” Porter added. “The usual concern is cars driving too fast, so the streetscaping will not only be safer, but it will also give downtown’s main intersection and roads a whole new look and feel.
“So we’re on the cusp of doing something very big.”
Porter said the city worked with Johnson Engineering, which is preparing renderings on what streetscaping would do to downtown. Not only would this reconfiguration calm traffic, it also would bring about new sidewalks, bike lanes, landscaping and lighting.
Porter says the city is expecting the renderings this month and there will be more workshops then to prepare for actual design.
Also in the works is the development of a splash pad and all-inclusive playground on the land next to The Spoke: Dade City’s Market Place and Visitors Center on Church Avenue at the start of the Hardy Trail. The $1-million project funded by the Community Development Block Grant would include restrooms and is out to bid now for a project management team.
“The playground would be the first one of its kind in Dade City,” Porter said. “We know we are starting to have younger families, so the splash park and new playground are going to be even more amenities for people to enjoy.”
Additional projects mentioned by Porter that are in planning phases include:
Morningside Drive Extension
The city is currently in the design phase to take Morningside Drive from U.S. 301 and extend it west to connect to State Road 52. It’s a long-range project, but one that City Manager Leslie Porter says will create a new traffic route, and allow direct and quicker access to AdventHealth Dade City with a whole new access point.
Wastewater Treatment Plant Design
This project is still a few years out, but a contract was awarded to design a new wastewater treatment plant. It will replace the current plant near the Mickens-Harper neighborhood, which officials hope to remove by 2026.
New Civic Center
The city is about to undertake a study to determine exactly what type of new building will be built at the James Irvin Civic Center, 38122 Martin Luther King Blvd. It has already been determined that the current building was beyond renovation.
Dade City, with a nearly $41-million budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, 64% higher than the previous year, is growing and expanding rapidly, and Porter recognizes this.
With the influx of new businesses downtown, the renovation of the Hugh Embry Library, several projects on the horizon and a population nearing 8,000, Dade City is looking to beyond 2023 and into the future.
“We’re getting new businesses all the time and thanks to things like First Friday and The Block, I think it’s getting realized that there is a nightlife now,” Porter said. “We’ve got a wine bar downtown, and the brewery and restaurants, and there’s a whole new crowd of people in Dade City. We even have an indoor mini golf place!
“And you can see that new crowd especially when the Art Walk was a great success, so with everything going on in this town and where we’re headed, it’s a very exciting time to be in Dade City.”
Published January 04, 2023
Ted Johnson says
Instead of waisting taxpayer money on renovating 7th Street to slow traffic down, why don’t the city police start doing their jobs and pulling people over for speeding or reckless driving???