Port Richey mascot: The pelican?

Port Richey’s Citizens Advisory Committee suggested to the City Council that the brown pelican be named the city’s official mascot. A poll was created through the committee’s Facebook page to get the public’s opinion on the matter.

PORT RICHEY — Is it time for the city to officially name a mascot?

The Citizens Advisory Committee thinks so, and the volunteer group already has something in mind: the brown pelican.

“Different cities have different mascots … and we’ve been talking about the brown pelican,” said Linda Rodriguez, chairwoman of the CAC, during a June regular meeting of the Port Richey City Council. “We would like to request that the pelican be the official mascot of Port Richey.”

Brown pelicans are common all around coastal Florida and are already recognized as the official bird of other localities. The species is the state of bird of Louisiana, and New Orleans’ NBA franchise renamed itself the Pelicans following the 2012-13 season. Closer to home, Port Richey would become the latest gulf coast city to align itself with the brown pelican in the past two years. St. Petersburg made the move in January 2020.

The council responded favorably to the suggestion, though members thought it prudent to get a larger sample size of opinions from residents before making a designation.

“I think a mascot is a great idea,” said council member Todd Maklary. “It’s part of the marketing plan for the city. I don’t think this council or me personally wants to pick the pelican as the mascot and then half the city says it hates the pelican because of X, Y, Z.”

Rodriguez said committee members suggested a number of options, including dolphins and manatees, but landed on the brown pelican after a moment in a city park.

“We were out cleaning up the park and there seemed like a hundred of them out there. We just felt since we’re waterfront, we wanted a waterfront presence.”

After a brief discussion, the council advised the committee to host an online poll to gather the opinions of the public. The City Mascot-Citizen Input poll was posted to the Port Richey Citizens Advisory Committee Facebook page on June 17.

The poll does not give the brown pelican or anything else as an option. It asks users to submit whatever they think would be a good mascot that represents Port Richey, animal or otherwise. Users are welcome to submit as many options as possible and CAC members will return to City Council at a later date to reveal their findings.

100th anniversary celebration prep

In other Port Richey City Council and CAC news, the committee requested the city begin thinking about its future 100th birthday and what should be done to celebrate.

The notable date is still about four years off, but Rodriguez suggested creating a committee or subcommittee focused on the centennial “to get the ball rolling.”

“There’s a lot of preparation and planning for that and the CAC is not equipped to do that alone,” Rodriguez said. “But we certainly want to be part of that.”

Mayor Scott Tremblay mentioned that Port Richey already has a Historic Preservation Commission, but, according to the city website, only two of five volunteer positions are filled.

According to the historical website Fivay.org, Port Richey became recognized as a city when Florida Gov. John W. Martin signed a special legislative act in 1925.