So, I was driving on S.R. 54 last week, checking out how much better the ride already is between I-75 and Curley Rd. — even though the widening of that stretch of Wesley Chapel’s most traffic-snarled roadway is not yet quite completed — when I noticed a phenomenon that really surprised me.
I was heading east on 54, which already has no more bottleneck in front of Applebee’s, but as I passed the entrance to Saddlebrook Resort, I noticed that there was still a sign telling me to turn right to visit the office of the Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce (WCCC). No biggie, I thought. That is where the Chamber’s office used to be located (in the Brookside Professional Park), so I assumed the county, with all the road construction going on, simply didn’t yet find the time to move that sign to the area west of I-75, where the Chamber’s new offices are located in the separate building facing The Grove shopping plaza off of 54 and Oakley Blvd.
But, because I was there to check out the entire S.R. 54 project from I-75 to Curley, I continued heading east on 54 when, to my surprise, I noticed yet another sign (see photo) saying “Chamber of Commerce,” with an arrow telling me to turn right in front of the First Baptist Church of Wesley Chapel. I wondered to myself if perhaps I had missed the news that the Chamber had moved its office again. Otherwise, was someone at the Pasco County offices in New Port Richey playing a trick on us or was it just some sort of totally random mistake?
I quickly cut the first available U-turn (which are MUCH easier to make on 54 these days, by the way) and headed towards the Chamber’s digs (which are still at The Grove) to tell my friends Carla Griffin, Mary Adele Cluck and Christine Hope about the obviously misplaced sign.
“We know they need to move the signs to this side of I-75,” Carla said. “But, no one told us about the sign pointing towards the church.”
There’s no doubt that for anyone who has never been there before, the Chamber’s offices can be a little bit tough to locate, even if there was proper signage. T’s Boutique, Noel’s Jewelry and a nail salon are the only other businesses in the truly pretty (but otherwise vacant) office buildings facing Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods and the other businesses in The Grove. In fact, if not for the annual Wesley Chapel Fall Festival and the more recent Health & Wellness Festival (see page 32), precious few locals would have any reason at all to visit these sparsely-filled office buildings.
I know the Chamber folks really are doing everything they can to attract businesses and local residents to the plaza, so I knew I wanted to help when I saw the misplaced sign.
“We have had quite a few complaints about having no signs directing you here,” Mary said. “But, we’re working on it.”
Of course, the Chamber has no standing to erect its own signs, so it has to go through the county to get the signs moved.
“One sign is supposed to direct eastbound traffic on 54 and the other is supposed to direct westbound traffic here,” Mary said. “We’ve been told that they’re working on it.”
“They” are Tom Rice of the county’s S.R. 54 project design office and Red Nicolasora of Pepper Contracting (which is constructing the 54 widening project). Obviously, completing the S.R. 54 widening is more important, but in order for the Chamber to properly do its important work, it would be nice if the average person could find where it is located!
The Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce office is located at 6013 Wesley Grove Blvd., Suite #103. Call 994-8534 or visit WesleyChapelChamber.com.
More About What’s New On Our Website!
I am genuinely excited about the additional attention our website — WCNeighborhoodNews.com — has been attracting since we first started promoting it in this space and since many more of you have been checking it out for all of its exclusive, new information and content.
Between senior news reporter Sean Bowes’ daily news items, my own “Gary’s Neighborhood Blog” and marketing and website director Ashley Knoblach’s amazing web-enhanced Holiday Shopping Guide (see page 28 for the print version) and other web-exclusive contests and content, there really is a lot to get excited about.
Since we’re on the subject of contests, this issue was supposed to be where we named our winning restaurants and our readers who won prizes in our annual Dining Survey & Contest. But, due to an unexpected surge in entries the last week of the contest (it ended Thanksgiving weekend), we will first post those winners on-line, rather than do so in this very-packed issue. All of the winners should be listed on our website as of now, so check us out!
We love feedback, so we’d love to hear from you, on the site or by email.