I think we’ve waited long enough. I had really hoped to have a talk with Port Richey Mayor Dale Massad, and air another podcast with him. I wanted to do that before I laid out the last two interviews…Rich Melton and Kristin Tonkin differ a little in their opinion of what the city is doing, and should do, about the WOD and Restore Act Funding. But not by much. Both do think the Mayor is embarked on a huge error: That he either doesn’t understand or won’t listen to the folks around him…That there can be a boat ramp in Waterfront Park. That not acting can cost the city the Restore Act Money to begin developing the WOD.
I am not the only person that was confused by the Mayor’s rambling ‘presentation’ at the recent county sponsored workshop. I asked two questions while he was at the podium. I asked those questions to have a clear, concise picture of what was going on:
1) Would the FCT and Restore Act Committee entertain changing the allowance for Waterfront Park, allowing for a boat ramp there, as is represented in the City’s own Restore Act request?
The Restore Act Committee Chair said yes. On today’s podcast, Kristin Tonkin verifies that the Florida Communities Trust also says yes.
2) Could the city lose that $650+ thousand dollars if they do not act in accordance with the plan already approved?
The Restore Act Committee Chair said yes to this, as well…While Mayor Dale Massad stood next to him.
There are only so many conclusions to reach:
1) The Mayor is confused, and not understanding the situation.
2) The Mayor knows full well what he is doing, and believes the Restore Act Committee and Florida Communities Trust will see the error of their ways, and allow the Mayor and council to radically modify the existing plan for Waterfront Park, and the other approved items.
3) The Mayor knows full well what he is doing, and is trying to torpedo the project, and cost Port Richey the Restore Act funds.
4) The Mayor simply doesn’t want a boat ramp next door, and is acting out of naked self interest.
I can’t think of what else he might be doing…And he certainly isn’t stepping up to talk about it. We went from an informal phone interview, to his request for an off the record chat before appearing, to complete radio silence.
About the idea of a ramp and park above the bridge:
There’s a problem with this that everybody who operates boats here will recognize: The under bridge channel itself, and the channel just downstream from the bridge, are extremely narrow. There is zero margin for operator error between Whiskey River and the old bridge pier there, and Catches. Additionally, commercial vessels…large ones, use that same area. This would create a massive increase in traffic in a narrow, and potentially dangerously congested area. It’s also going to get more congested, when Whiskey Joe’s is built.
Waterfront Park is a FAR better option to relieve the pressure on Nick’s Park. TRIPLE the trailer parking, and much more navigable than the upriver site. Look, I am all for developing that site, later. But it is NOT part of the plan already approved and in place.
Below, look at the map of Waterfront Park and the WOD:
Now…When you look at that picture (and I invite you to go look at the Google Earth View of Port Richey)…Look just north of the park boundary. There are four houses between the two canals. The second one north of the park?
Anyone want to guess who lives there?
Maybe he just doesn’t want a boat ramp near his house.
Maybe I’m just guessing, because the Mayor won’t comment on the record.
Maybe we should start talking about the City Manager candidates that are being vetted, right now.