VENICE, Fla. - From a downtown parking garage and new athletic fields, to moving a fire department and public works. They are all new ideas by the city of Venice as plans for the future are made.
Mayor John Holic says one of the issues is dealing with the growing demands on the Wellfield sports complex. "I categorize it as 10 pounds of sports on a 5 pound field."
The city is moving forward with designating Pinebrook Park off limits for development. Holic says they should now look to other parts of the city for more fields. What is now considered North Venice has thousands of homes planned. "Once they start developing the population in the North East part of Venice will be growing by leaps and bounds"
Many might want to come shop downtown. Already parking is an issue. Some think a parking garage could solve some problems. "Building a parking garage where your workers and the majority of shop owners could park and leaving your spaces open for your customers is key," says Cat Quast with Venice Main Street.
Holic believes they could save money by selling the land their second fire station sits on and placing it near the police station. "Moving our fire station number two over to the police department and making a public safety complex out of it. Making both buildings hardened for hurricanes."
Also selling the land it sits on and moving the city's public works department closer to cheaper land by the dump. Opening up development along the Intracoastal Waterway. "Seven acres of land would be a really good seed for development of that area."
Of course all of it costs money. The council may soon discuss floating a revenue bond. The city recently got one at less than 4% for improvements to it's utilities. "At interest rates like that it would behoove us to be borrowing money to build for the future."
A plan for the future needed they say right now. "A comprehensive plan instead of just piecemealing things together. Like taking a park out of the system and walking away."
City leaders are hoping to bring back some real numbers on costs soon. They'd like to see those projects complete within the next decade.