Gary Nager Editorial

I’m so thankful for how things went for me, both personally and professionally, in 2022. 

I found out this year that my sons and Jannah’s daughter and son will increase the number of grandchildren between us from two to six by April of next year. And, after a couple of years of serious pain, I had both of my knees replaced in 2022 and I’m back to working out regularly and feeling like I’ve turned back the clock to younger, healthier times.

In addition, the Neighborhood News is still going gangbusters, despite me having to suffer through those two knee replacement operations and many weeks of difficult physical therapy following each of those surgeries.

And, here in Wesley Chapel, 2022 was another year of unprecedented growth, as our all-direct-mail distribution grew from 29,000 homes, apartments and businesses and fewer than 82,000 people in zip codes 33543, 33544 & 33545 to more than 31,000 residences and businesses and more than 85,000 people over the course of the year, despite the fact the once-insane local real estate market finally cooled off…at least somewhat.

I’m also proud to say that we added more than three dozen new advertisers in 2022 and continued to make the vast majority of our advertisers, old and new, happy with their results.

On pages 4 and 6 of our last Wesley Chapel issue of the year, managing editor John Cotey recaps some of the biggest 2022 stories in Wesley Chapel with look-towards-2023 updates on those stories. But, there are a few other stories we are looking forward to covering in 2023 and there’s little doubt that many of them also will be big news for us. Here are a few, in no particular order:

BayCare Hospital Wesley Chapel opening — Although not as large as the existing AdventHealth Wesley Chapel hospital, adding a second full-service hospital in Wesley Chapel will definitely mean more access to health care within a few miles for more Wesley Chapel residents. Remember that a new hospital also means more doctors, nurses, therapists and jobs in our community and yes, more people moving to our area. I know that not everyone thinks that’s a good thing, but I, for one, am not opposed to it.

St. Luke’s Eye Center opening — After having cataracts in both eyes fixed at the St. Luke’s center in Tarpon Springs right before the pandemic began, I am hopeful that locals will be able to stay in our area (next to Miller’s Ale House) to get their eye surgeries done.

More new restaurants opening — In his 2022 recap, John mentions just how much response we got online when we announced that Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant was coming to S.R. 56, but it isn’t the only new restaurant we can look forward to opening in 2023. Although it hasn’t begun building yet, I’m hopeful that Rodizio Grill, The Brazilian Steakhouse, will open before the end of 2023 on the Wesley Chapel Blvd. extension, next to At Home. Other restaurants expected to open in 2023 (that we already know of) include Crazy Sushi at the Shops at Wiregrass, Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar (in the same plaza as Chicken Salad Chick) and Pho 54 (in the former location of Sweetea Café on S.R. 56; see pg. 36). These are just the ones we know for sure are coming, but of course, you know we’ll keep you posted about any and all others.

More road projects — In addition to the new interchange off I-75 at Overpass Rd., which could open before the end of 2022, John’s 2022 recap story on pages 4 & 6 also mentions the widening of S.R. 54 from east of Curley Rd. to Eiland Blvd./Morris Bridge Rd., the Zephyrhills Bypass and the opening of Wiregrass Ranch Blvd. to S.R. 54 as other road projects expected to be completed by the end of 2023. 

However, 2023 also is expected to see the completion of the improvements just south of the S.R. 54 and Bruce B. Downs Blvd. intersection and hopefully, the start of anticipated improvements to Wesley Chapel Blvd. between S.R. 56 and S.R. 54. All we’ve seen so far on Wesley Chapel Blvd. is the addition of one new traffic signal on this dangerous two-lane road,  which also is adding some new apartments near Lexington Oaks and some new commercial properties across from Total Wine & More. We definitely plan to provide an update on everything planned for Wesley Chapel Blvd. during the first few months of 2023.

And…We’ll also check in to see how new District 2 (which includes much of Wesley Chapel) Pasco County Commissioner Seth Weightman is doing in his first few months in office; how the dispute between Pasco and RADDSports at the Wiregrass Ranch Sports Campus (see story on pg. 8) gets resolved; and the planned opening of the first neo-traditional buildings in downtown Avalon Park on S.R. 54…and more.  

In other words, keep reading for all the news of another busy year in Wesley Chapel!            

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