------The Future of Hudson is Bright!------
New neighborhoods have gone up in Hudson since the 1970s, but not like this new community in northwest Hudson along Old Dixie Hwy. Head north from the beach past New York Ave., and today you'll see dirt road and some crystal blue lakes. As it is, a unique place. You'd be gazing at the site for the first brand new prime waterfront community since the 70s almost anywhere in Florida. But that is not all- this same community is said to employ features of 'new-urbanism', which is a means of making American neighborhoods better places to live by vitalizing the locality with commercial and recreation areas. SunWest Harbourtowne is projected to have a downtown beachfront area built right into it, accessible to residents of the neighborhood and the general public. The beach will be the centerpiece of a new county park, while private industry builds multistory restaurants along a boardwalk, flanked by a resort hotel(s), water sports facilities, a marina and a championship golf course. Using the transformation of an old fishing village on the Gulf coast of Texas as an analogue (the Hudson-like port of Kemah, TX), planners were impressed with how powerfully the boardwalk concept was used there to bring amazing vitality to the area.
This community-oriented approach is exactly at the heart of getting back to the basics of American social living through the thoughtful provision of public space. SunWest Harbourtowne is now past its blueprint stage and is nearly finished the negotiating through the ever-daunting legal paperwork. In order to obtain clearance for the features of the future community, Pasco County, the Commission, SunWest Mine and private industry have worked hand in hand.
What will it do for Hudson? It will at once revive the old downtown feel (which no longer exists-see history), and provide a new node balancing Hudson Beach and its admittedly modest commerce district. The new county beach is projected to be many times the size of Hudson Beach, with seven boat ramps instead of one, hundreds of wet and dry slips at the marina and a newly dredged main channel going out to the Gulf.
Please see the map below for some of these features:
As can be seen on this map, this large community will be located north of Sea Pines on Old Dixie, stretching to Aripeka. The red area in the center of the color indicates the planned downtown, marina and shopping district. At the same time, the light green belt to its south on Old Dixie is a waterfront county park, that will be executed by the Pasco Government and will enhance the whole area. The light and dark green areas on the map are conservation, marshland and wildlife habitats, from Sea Pines up. Yellow areas are residential developments. All in all, the community will contain something like 2,670 new residences (quite a statistic considering Hudson has 3,465 canal/waterfront properties in total), from Sea Pines down to Leisure Beach. Harbourtowne's hotel and conference center will attract business itself to the area, as well as give Hudson's mercantile community a focus. Interestingly, statistics from SunWest concerning the importance of golf for local economies rings true in the case of the Hudson area, where Harbourtowne will add a 5th golf course to the four we already have: Beacon Woods, The Links (in Fairway Oaks), Heritage Pines and Meadow Oaks. Rounding out Hudson's selection of courses with a 5th, all within a five mile radius, will make this one of the primary places to golf. From the website: Over 58 million rounds of golf are played in Florida a year, 33% by out of state visitors, 14% by non-local Florida residents and the remaining 54% by local people. What a boon to tourism! Add to that a possibly unique water park and we can see the extent of the project. 750 personality jobs are projected to be created.
This is not the first huge project Hudson has seen. The very beach itself, at the end of Clark St., was the brainchild of developer Bud Clark and his friends, as were the canals. Gulf Island was a major project of the 1980s, while the Port Hudson Marina began its large redevelopment later. Hudson's heart and soul boils down to the positive interaction and control of its natural setting, amid swamp and reed. SunWest Harbourtowne is not only a great idea, it is a capstone within the tradition this 'old fishing community' has had for a hundred years. Please see the SunWest website for more detailed information and to get in on what promises to be the finest new neighborhood one can find- one that has a history even before being built. Please note the spelling is not Sun West Harbortowne in case you run a search.
News on the process playing out now:
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