MADEIRA BEACH – Light poles wrapped in red and green bunting will be a highlight of the city of Madeira Beach’s new holiday look this season.
Stung by criticism of last year’s Christmas holiday lights and decorations, the city is spending extra money this time “to do something special,” City Manager Shane Crawford said at the Oct. 8 city commission meeting.
Madeira Beach will piggyback on a contract with Treasure Island and St. Pete Beach that will enable the city to get a better price and upgrade the decorations, Crawford said. Spending an extra $5,000 will add new features such as the wrapped poles and other enhancements.
The total cost of $30,000 to rent the decorations is covered in the budget, Crawford assured the commission.
Plans for this year include 125 decorated light poles along Madeira Way and 150th Avenue. They will feature a triple candle scroll on Madeira Way, cascade wreaths on 150th Avenue, and star sprays alternating with leaping deer on Gulf Boulevard. Red and green wrapping will spiral down the poles.
A 25-foot natural branch garland tree decorated with 700 multicolored lights and topped with a star will be installed at Causeway Park.
Also, the Medjool palm trees at John’s Pass Village will be wrapped in green and red.
The lighting and displays will be up by mid-November before Thanksgiving, according to their creator, Clarke Sales Display of Tavares.
Crawford described the company as “the only game in town” for holiday decorations.”
An ominous warning
Flood insurance increases brought on by the Biggert-Waters Act recently passed by Congress are having a drastic negative impact on local real estate, said Michelle Newton of All Lines Insurance.
Newton said the act “would kill the housing market and it already is.” She said members of Congress “had no idea this would happen when they passed this. Some didn’t even read it.”
Even though only a handful of residents were at the meeting to hear Newton’s presentation, Mayor Travis Palladeno said about 930 homes in Madeira Beach are affected by the Biggert-Waters Act. Many of the homeowners are seeing huge increases in their flood insurance rates.
Archibald Park closed
Due to construction on the site, which has included the removal of parking lot lights, Archibald Park is shut down until mid-November.
City Manager Crawford made the announcement in an email on Oct. 9.
The popular Snack Shack eatery at the park is also closed, likely until the end of the year when renovations to the cabin are completed and new management takes over.
Archibald Park on the gulf is the city’s most popular recreational park. It is currently undergoing more than $1 million in improvements.
Leverock’s torn down
Waterfront property on the south side of the causeway bridge is due to be redeveloped soon, Crawford said.
The recent demolition of the long vacant Leverock’s Restaurant building on the site was “a good sign,” he said.
Crawford said the city does not know exactly what will be built on the property, but plans are expected “in the very near future.”
Questioned after the meeting about possibilities, Crawford mentioned a mixed-use development with condos, hotels and retail.