LARGO - The 10 swimmers stand poised at the end of the pool as the music begins, setting them diving and jumping into the water in rhythm.
In a pool that is 18 feet deep, they swim to the music, stroking and freezing in time with each others’ movements. Their feet and arms paddle fiercely beneath the surface, but what emerges from the water are smiles and arched arms, pointed toes and striking poses. They hold each other up in near pyramids and fly through the air like dolphins, boosted by the mere strength of their fellow teammates.
The Suncoast Water Works Synchronized Swim Team was first established in 1985 and still continues its tradition at Southwest Pool in Largo, training the whole school year and especially intense for part of the summer. They are the only competitive synchronized swimming team in Pinellas County.
LARGO - A city ordinance designed to keep teenagers from acting inappropriately in play areas designed for younger children went back to the drawing table, after Largo commissioners questioned its parameters May 19.
The city has dealt with a number of instances in which teenagers are acting in a way that makes parents of young children uncomfortable, said Recreation, Parks and Arts Director Joan Byrne. The teenagers may be monopolizing playground equipment clearly designed for young children, loudly cursing, playing tag through the playground equipment, publicly displaying affection or harassing children.
“Those (instances) seem to be increasing,” Byrne said. “We need to have a way of removing them.”
LARGO - The Kiwanis Club of Largo/Mid-Pinellas donated $1,000 to Camp C.O.A.S.T., a summer camp for autistic children, at the club meeting May 14.
Camp C.O.A.S.T. provides children with autism and developmental disabilities ages 5 to 10 a day camp experience that will allow them to feel comfortable in a safe, fun and nurturing environment. The camp is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Clearwater Branch of YMCA of the Suncoast. A one-on-one teen aide is assigned to each camper.
LARGO - The Largo Lions recently reported to the Largo Commission the results of the their trip to Kami, Japan, in celebration of the 45th anniversary of the sister cities and twinning of Largo and Tosayamada Lions Clubs.
During the 10-day trip in March, at the peak season for cherry blossoms, the delegation was hosted by families and toured Yamada High School as well as local businesses.
In their presentation to the commission May 7, Largo Lions dressed in “Happy Coats,” gifts from Kami to commemorate the anniversary. They bought gifts from Kami, including a flag.
LARGO - The city of Largo’s Highland Family Aquatic Center has reopened for the summer swim season.
The facility has two pools with slides suitable for all ages, a zero-depth area, water sprays, changing rooms, a snack bar and shade structures.
Between May 16 and June 7, the aquatic center is open Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. From June 8 to Aug. 22, it will be open additional weekday hours: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., and 4 to 6 p.m. Weekday hours stop from Aug. 23 until the end of the summer season Sunday, Sept. 27.
LARGO - Largo commissioners discussed more than $112 million worth of projects outlined in the city’s five-year capital improvements plan May 12.
The capital improvements plan, or CIP, does not authorize funds, but is a way the city plans for needed maintenance, upgrades and purchases costing $100,000 or more. Currently, expenditures are projected to outpace projected revenues, especially given the increases to the city’s public safety staffing. However, commissioners again emphasized a need for more police officers especially, with Commissioner Curtis Holmes citing recent examples of emergencies like traffic crashes, where no officers were available to direct traffic.
LARGO - With an extra week before the new school year begins, Largo camps are set to help solve the annual problem of finding a good way for kids to spend the summer.
Eleven weeks of camp starts Monday, June 8. Full-day camps will run until Friday, Aug. 21 as a result of the Pinellas County School Board approving the start of school as Monday, Aug. 24, a week longer than usual.
“We want to keep them busy and active over the summer,” said Krista Pincince, recreation program manager at Highland Recreation Complex. “(Our goal is) really just to offer a variety of opportunities to meet their needs and interest.”
LARGO - A special sunset shopping event featuring sales, refreshments and entertainment, will be presented Thursday, May 21, 6 to 8 p.m.
Attendees will have an opportunity to visit Roadside Attraction and Patina Maison at 13836-40 Walsingham Road, in the Hammock Hardware plaza; and Julie’s Cottage and Emporium 2 at 13128 Indian Rocks Road.
Roadside Attraction’s special guest Dirk Pershing will delight guests with old-fashioned close-up magic while they enjoy 1920s-themed beverages and discounts on select merchandise. Dirk Pershing is the stage name of David Allen, a longtime volunteer at Heritage Village, Pinellas County’s 21-acre living history museum. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will be donated to Heritage Village in appreciation of Dirk’s appearance. Roadside Attraction specializes in vintage tropical and mid-century furniture and home decor.
LARGO - The city of Largo will begin determining the best way to enact a special assessment fire fee, charged to property owners as a means to offset general fund revenue.
Commissioners have been considering new revenue sources as a way to fund more police and firefighters without raising property taxes. The new special assessment fire fee essentially would charge Largo property owners for their potential use of the city’s fire department separately from the amount they pay in property taxes. During their last discussion on the issue April 7, commissioners asked for more information as to how the fee would work.
To answer their questions in greater detail, attorney Christopher Roe, from Tallahassee-based law office Bryant Miller Olive, made a presentation May 5. Roe has worked with several cities in Florida to develop special fire fees.
LARGO - Fulton Drive, north and south of East Bay Drive, will be closed for major construction from Monday, May 11 through Thursday, May 21.
The construction is part of the city of Largo’s Wet Weather Project at that intersection. A FDOT approved traffic control plan with message boards and detour signs will be posted prior to construction.
The city advises the public to proceed with caution and expect traffic delays in this area.