NEW PORT RICHEY — City leaders got a pleasant surprise last week about Hacienda hotel restoration efforts with an offer for a free environmental assessment.
Pasco County has a grant to study any contamination at commercial and industrial properties, Interim City Manager Susan Dillinger explained to city council members. The landmark hotel at 5621 Main St. qualifies.
The title of the grant is a bit of a mouthful – Pasco County Coalition Partners EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant.
The cost to inspect each property could amount to about $4,800, Melanie Kendrick explained as a senior planner for the Pasco economic development department.
However, the county would pick up all of the expense, Kendrick said.
“If it’s for free, I’m for it,” Councilman Chopper Davis said with a wide grin. The city granted permission for county workers to enter the site.
Inspectors would check for air quality, traces of lead paint and clues of any asbestos contamination.
Besides the Hacienda, the county also will check the former post office property at 6345 Grand Blvd., Kendrick said.
Some questions arise about underground storage tanks at the post office site, Kendrick said. Experts will research historic aerial maps that often provide evidence.
As a bonus, the county will inspect the former church site on River Road south of Main Street.
The city still seeks money to pay for a structural assessment of the Hacienda hotel, which opened in 1927.
An online pledge drive failed to produce some $37,000 toward the structural analysis.
However, the Bob Evans restaurant will donate money from the Dine to Make a Difference campaign to help with restoration expenses.
Today and Thursday, Oct. 9-10, diners can have 15 percent of the total bill dedicated to restoring the hotel. The participating restaurant is at 9115 U.S. 19.
Diners must present a flyer when paying the bill. People can pick up copies at City Hall, Downtown Art Gallery, West Pasco Chamber and several downtown businesses.
Or download and print the flyer from www.facebook.com/events/167777476758340.
Call Greater New Port Richey Main Street office at (727) 842-8066 for more information.