At ABC Action News, we know it's the combination of all the communities that make Tampa Bay great to live in. That's why we've started a new series of reporting highlighting good things happening around town, discovering cool gems you may not know about, and uncovering the big news events impacting those areas.
On Friday, the Good Morning Tampa Bay team focused on New Port Richey.
- The city was originally known as Hickory Hammock then later renamed after its original settler Captain Aaron Richey
- The city was established during the 1880s and incorporated in October 1924
- The area was known as the "Hollywood of the East" at one time
- The Hacienda Hotel opened February 5, 1927 and brought big Hollywood names to the area
- City plans for NPR came 28 years after Port Richey; W.E. Guilford drew up plans in 1911
- There's been little deviation from the original plans
- Dr. Elroy M. Avery founded the Avery Library and Historical Society in 1919, he became the first mayor in 1924 in a 201-4 vote
- Golfer Gene Sarazen moved to and invented his famous "sand wedge" in New Port Richey
We're highlighting local programs and businesses, road safety projects and more.
Built in a Mediterranean Revival style, the New Port Richey hotel was a glowing getaway for the rich and famous.
"This place was built as a hotel," says Jim Gunderson, the man responsible for returning the Hacienda back to its former glory. "It was designed as a hotel. It wants to be a hotel."
Later this year, maybe as early as summer, the Hacienda will open as a gorgeous 40-room hotel complete with dining room, bar and romantic courtyard perfect for weddings.
Just after you turn off U.S.19 in New Port Richey you'll find a bright and vibrant slice of the city.
"Downtown New Port Richey is really experiencing a Renaissance. It's been growing and thriving for the past six or seven years now. And even through the last year during the pandemic, we continue to grow with over a dozen new businesses coming into downtown," says Economic Developer Director Charles Rudd.
For seven years, Pepin Academies has called New Port Richey home. But now, the students and staff are in a beautiful, brand new building.
The state of the art campus sits on 14 acres. They have a gym, all new classrooms, fields and five acres of Flatwoods trails for student use.
The Florida Department of Transportation is making pedestrian improvements to four intersections along U.S. 19 at Richey Road, Gulf Drive, Marine Parkway, and Continental Drive in Pasco County.
Work began at the beginning of 2021. This primarily impacts drivers who live and work in Holiday, New Port Richey, and Port Richey.
Here, playtime is not only encouraged, it's celebrated.
The school is described as a therapeutic intervention in an academic setting. It's Kindergarten through 7th grade, with plans to add more grade levels in the future.
Dr. Joleen Fernald and Lilibel Bernhardt run the program, both are licensed therapists.
One local woman is using her own trials and tribulations to help others in her community.
At the age of 12, Heather Tuck was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a rare genetic eye condition that left her blind in 2014.
She sought help at the Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind.
Suncoast Clinic Trials has been in operation since 1998.
Co-Owner Jennifer Selk says, "We test potential new medications as well as devices."
An important process in getting something FDA approved.
"We are involved in the development of all kinds of new medications as well as devices, as I mentioned, so that we can treat new conditions and prevent conditions and viruses," says Selk.
There's progress being made at the corner of U.S.19 and Main Street in New Port Richey, especially if you ask City Manager Debbie Manns.
"This is an exciting project for the city really catalyst in nature," says Manns.
The property, hopefully by summer, will be home to a 45,000 sq. ft. Keiser University and around 1,000 students and 100 employees.