New Port Richey tries to stay ahead of downtown growth

By Sarah Blazonis, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, December 28, 2017, 5:18 PM EST

Lawmakers in New Port Richey are looking into adding parking to the downtown business district after a study found the area has about 500 fewer spots than it should.

  • Council looks at measures to grow downtown parking
  • Study says area has about 500 fewer spots than it should
  • Funding for lots could be included in next year's budget

"We're talking about acquiring some additional land so that we can make it convenient to Main Street, but not on Main Street or Grand Boulevard," said City Councilman Bill Phillips. "Make it a block or two blocks away so that it can be used not only during the regular business hours, special events."

Cathy Banaciski owns Dream Bubble Shop on Main Street. She says lack of parking isn't a major issue for her business, but she does hear complaints from customers.

"They might have a problem finding parking out front, especially if there's a lot going on downtown," Banaciski said.

On top of Sims Park events that draw large crowds, downtown is also about to see the completion of the Main Street Landing apartment and retail space project. That’s why Phillips says it's important to stay on top of the parking situation.

"Trying to play catch up, it's a lot more dollars, it's a lot more time intensive," said Phillips.

Banaciski says she'd welcome the extra parking and doesn't think customers would mind walking a few blocks to get where they're going.

"People are coming in and saying, 'We didn't realize there was so much going on in New Port Richey.' Neither did I because I lived outside of downtown," she said.

Phillips says the council will likely discuss immediate measures that can be taken at its next work session. He says funding for lots could be included in next year's budget.