PORT RICHEY — The city will pursue a state recreation grant for a potential Waterfront Park pier, which is still in the discussion stage.
City council members at their Sept. 28 meeting discussed pursuing a Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program grant for a pier. The merits of whether such a feature would bring good publicity to the city was brought up, but ultimately, a majority of the council would like to see a pier.
City manager John Dudte said that over the years the city has received funding for improvements to Waterfront Park, and now there is an opportunity to apply for Phase 4 funding after the city closed out on Phase 3 earlier this year. The pier was previously in the city budget last year, but construction was never followed through.
“We subsequently learned there was more opportunity to apply for more funds than we did in the past,” Dudte said. “I think in the past we asked for $50,000, and that included a pier on the task list. You’re not going to get a pier for 50 grand.”
Dudte said his current intent is to have grant manager Pamela Lynch pursue additional grant funding for the pier, totaling somewhere in the $200,000s. The estimate, Dudte said, is just a guess as the city hasn’t done the footwork yet to see how the pier would be laid out.
“This is a big project, it’s a lot of money, and it would make a significant change at Waterfront Park to put that pier back in,” Dudte said.
One councilman, Tom Kinsella, raised concerns that the construction of a pier would encourage troublemaking after dark. He stated that a number of syringes have previously been found in that area, west of a bridge at the park. It’s far enough from the park that a patrol car would be unable to get to it, and any pursuit would have to be on foot. Kinsella said he “hated the idea of creating something that becomes a local hangout” and would only become “a headache for the city.”
Mayor Scott Tremblay said that as a waterfront community, Port Richey has a number of nice parks. The old pier, which was once popular, is now a safety hazard and closed, Tremblay said. A new pier would promote walking, fishing and other outdoor activities.
Over the years, Waterfront Park has seen a new playground, new dog park, and improvements to the bathrooms.
“Adding another improvement or amenity to that park, I think would be great, whether or not it’s a fishing pier or anything else,” Tremblay said. “It would be nice to have a fishing pier within our city, if not there.”
City staff led by Lynch will pursue funding, and talks on the pier will resume at a later date.