Community members will have another chance to share their views on the future location of the Pasco County Extension Office.
Extension now operates out of space owned by the Pasco County Fair Association, under an annual $17,000 lease, which is currently on a month-to-month basis.
But, the office is too small and outdated to meet Extension’s needs.
The county wants to improve conditions for Extension and has been weighing various options.
Views were divided over the best location, during an Oct. 12 stakeholders’ meeting.
Some speakers supported an upgrade to the office at its current fairgrounds location. They said it makes sense for Extension because of its close alignment to the Pasco County Fair.
Others urged the county to move Extension to the county-owned Stallings Building, at 15029 14th St., in Dade City. They said that area children and families would benefit from having Extension in that neighborhood.
Whitney C. Elmore, director of Pasco Extension, said details are still being ironed out, but she expects a plan to be presented to stakeholders at that meeting.
“We want to get their feelings, their input, on a variety of things, and talk to them about how we’re going to move forward to increase the visibility for Extension across Pasco County,” she said. The aim is to provide additional space, so Extension can expand the programs its offers.
A meeting has been set for Jan. 19, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., at 36702 State Road 52 in Dade City, at the fairgrounds.
Meanwhile, Pasco County, in conjunction with the Pasco County Fair, also has scheduled a public hearing to certify that the Pasco County Fair Association Building is designed for a public purpose.
The fair association is applying for a grant from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to renovate the fair association building. To be eligible for the grant money, the county must certify that the building provides a public service.
That public hearing is scheduled for Jan. 24 at 1:30 p.m., during the County Commission’s regular meeting at the Historic Pasco County Historic Courthouse, at 37918 Meridian Ave., Dade City.
If a state grant is approved and remodeling funds are made available, Elmore said Extension would need to relocate while that work is done.
Regardless of what happens with Extension’s office space, Elmore said she will be working with community volunteer Sammy Ortiz to set up new Hispanic 4-H Club in Dade City.
The Extension director said one of the best things that came out of the Oct. 12 meeting is that she learned about Ortiz’s willingness to take on a leadership role.
Elmore also said that Cathy Pearson, an assistant county administrator who led the previous stakeholder’s meeting, will be leading the Jan. 19 meeting, too.
What: Community stakeholders meeting on Extension Office improvements
Where: 36702 State Road 52 in Dade City
When: Jan. 19, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Who: The community is invited to participate in the discussion.
Public hearing regarding Pasco County Fair Association Building
Where: Pasco County Historic Courthouse, 37918 Meridian Ave., Dade City
When: Jan. 24, 1:30 p.m.
Why: The fair association is applying for a state grant, and in order to qualify, the county must certify that the fair association’s building is used for a public purpose. The Pasco County Extension Office is at the Pasco County Fair Association’s fairgrounds.
Published January 18, 2017