Port Richey wants blighted areas razed
PORT RICHEY - The owners of property at U.S. 19 and Grand Boulevard on which a number of aging mobile homes are being dismantled have pledged to clean up the leftover debris, but the city is prepared to act if they don't. If the site isn't cleared by the end of August, the city would take over the project, City Manager Tom O'Neill said. The city could then place liens against the property to recoup the cost of the cleanup. Port Richey continues its "critically important" mission of clearing blighted areas, O'Neill emphasized. O'Neill said he and other city officials met last week at the mobile home park site with executives of Treasure Coast Properties LLC, which owns the parcel."They live out of state," O'Neill said about the owners. They gave assurances the partnership would get quotes for clearing the site, the city manager said. "Hopefully, that will happen sooner or later," O'Neill said, adding, "I told them we want to work with them, but our goal is to get this property cleared." The project provides an example of the city's Community Redevelopment Agency "in action, doing exactly what it's designed to do," O'Neill said. The CRA strives to create a better appearance, maintain property values and make parcels more attractive for potential development. Several years ago, the city acquired the property of the Moonlight Bay Mobile Home Park, at the corner of River Gulf Road and Grand Boulevard, and cleared the site. "It was a hotbed for criminal activity" prior to the city buyout, O'Neill said of the property, which remains vacant. The mobile home park at U.S. 19 and Grand Boulevard fell into disrepair after plans to sell the corner parcel fell through, O'Neill recalled. The recession ended aspirations to redevelop the site. "The conditions of the park were deplorable, in my opinion," O'Neill said. The city declared the mobile homes unfit for habitation. In May, city officials began posting signs on the buildings with headings such as "Unsafe" or "Order to Demolish Slum or Blighted Structure." "We have to afford due process under terms of our ordinance," O'Neill said. Aug. 31 is deadline when city can take over demolition. "If indeed they don't do it, then we will step in," O'Neill added.