Bicyclists and fellow exercisers alike will soon have an idyllic spot in Dade City to relax and take a breather — thanks to a new visitor’s information welcome center and bike hub that’ll help anchor a forthcoming downtown park site.
The visitor’s information welcome center/bike hub concept — aptly referred to as “Spoke” or “Hub” — will be situated in the heart of downtown Dade City, across from the Roy T. Hardy trailhead, at the corner of Church Avenue and Eighth Street.
Project construction officially kicked off following a March 10 groundbreaking ceremony. Since then, footers have since been set and concrete poured.
Dade City officials anticipate a June grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony, according to a presentation from the city’s community and economic development director Melanie Romagnoli, during a March 24 Pasco County Tourist Development Council meeting.
The tourist-friendly project is multi-faceted.
The roughly 1,500 square-foot welcome center takes on an open space interior concept that will house brochure kiosks for other countywide tourism partners to promote upcoming activities and attractions, museums, art exhibits and places of interest.
The city also is seeking sponsorships to incorporate digital displays, additional outlets and internet connectivity capabilities at the center.
Romagnoli explained of the concept: “We want to be able to have a mobile area for our partners in the tourism industry to be able to display what’s going on in their areas, so it can be anything from, let’s say, like the Dade City Heritage (and Cultural) Museum, or even the West Pasco (Historical Society) Museum, if they want to bring something over and put it in.”
The facility also will include two outdoor covered porch areas with seating options, as well as an exterior bike shelter, with parking stations and repair stands for traveling bicyclists. Two public restrooms also will be included.
The welcome center/bike hub is being funded with the help of a $250,000 grant from the Pasco County Tourist Development Council (TDC) and its official destination marketing organization, Experience Florida’s Sports Coast, which promotes Pasco’s varied outdoor and recreational offerings.
Pasco County TDC chairman Mike Moore during the meeting said the welcome center/bike hub will be “a great addition to the community and county, as a whole.”
The facility is a corner part of the quaint East Pasco town’s multi-use downtown park concept — to eventually feature an inclusive/ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)-accessible playground, amphitheater for outdoor venues, and children’s splash pad and other amenities.
The city originally purchased a 2.23-acre property for the park site in December 2019 for $800,000 from the family of local businessman Otto Weitzenkorn.
From there, the bidding process, construction contracts and permitting on the visitor’s center/bike hub alone wrapped up in February.
Other elements of the planned park may not come to fruition for some time, as the city collects public input, and establishes specific design and engineered plans.
Total investment of the entire downtown park could exceed $3 million, officials previously have estimated.
The city is seeking grant opportunities and other funding sources to help pay for the multi-use park.
Dade City leaders have said the park project is designed to help revitalize the downtown business district, while also offering another recreational outlet for local youth, residents and visitors.
Officials also say that the park fits with the city’s vision of fostering a healthy and age-friendly community.
Published April 14, 2021