LARGO - The road to home ownership can be a long and arduous journey. For the family of Miguel DeJesus and Ivelisse Marcano, that road ended Feb. 18 on 11th Avenue Northwest when the couple received the keys to their new home from Habitat for Humanity.
Before long, 11th Avenue Northwest also might become the most inspiring street in all of Largo because the family’s next three neighbors also will receive homes through Habitat.
LARGO - If anyone needed evidence about the demand for affordable housing in Pinellas County, all they would have to do is look at the capacity and waiting lists of some Largo developments.
Pinellas Heights: full. Whispering Palms: full. Belleair Place Apartments: full with a four- to six-month waiting list. Bayside Court: full with a six- to nine-month waiting list.
As rent prices rise, the demand for affordable housing has risen with it. That is why Largo housing officials are looking for a way to help those in need by changing the city’s code to improve the chances of securing state funding. But, as some city leaders said during a work session Feb. 14, what is best for the residents of Pinellas County isn’t always what’s best for the residents and reputation of Largo.
LARGO - Before construction on the tree adventure course behind Highland Recreation Complex can begin, city officials must await a parking and restroom analysis.
That report should be arriving soon, said City Manager Henry Schubert during a City Commission meeting Feb. 21.
“Hopefully we should be able to resolve these issues fairly quickly so we can proceed with the development process,” he said. “We don’t have any final answers at this point. I would say parking does not appear to be a problem, but we need to evaluate that a little bit more. The toilet fixtures are something we are paying a little more attention to make sure that they meet the development code.”
LARGO - When Largo commissioners approved construction of a tree adventure course behind Highland Recreation Complex in September, the course’s owners hoped to hold its grand opening before the end of 2016.
A parking and restroom analysis by the city, however, has kept the project on the ground and construction has yet to begin, leaving a timetable for opening up in the air.
LARGO - City Hall, Largo Public Library, Central Park Performing Arts Center, Community Center, and Highland Recreation and Southwest Recreation complexes will be closed Monday, Feb. 20, in observance of Presidents Day.
Also, Largo Solid Waste will not be collecting residential garbage, recycling or bulky items. Monday residential collection will move to Tuesday, and Tuesday collection will move to Wednesday. There will be no change to commercial collections.
LARGO - Some Largo commissioners wanted to make sure the city wasn’t taken for a ride when it came to a deal the Recreation, Parks and Arts Department made to bring a Ferris wheel and carousel to Central Park at the end of 2016.
Despite concerns over fairness and transparency, the commission voted 5-2 Feb. 7, with Jamie Robinson and Curtis Holmes dissenting, to pay the Suncoast Performing Arts Foundation the $40,000 in net revenue that was collected.
LARGO - The Central Pinellas Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the city of Largo to host the City of Largo 2017 Outlook and Business Reception on Thursday, Feb. 23, 5 to 7 p.m., at the Central Park Performing Arts Center, 105 Central Park Drive.
The event provides an opportunity for community leaders to learn about the vision of Largo and the impact on area business.
LARGO - In one of its entries, Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a wall as an extreme or desperate position or a state of defeat, failure or ruin.
But when artist and Largo native Tanya Pistillo sees a wall, she doesn’t see defeat or failure. She sees an opportunity. And Largo has lots of walls.
That’s why Pistillo worked for free to paint the mural that reads “Greetings from downtown Largo” at the corner of West Bay Drive and Fourth Street, and why she has started on a new mural at Jimmy’s Sports Lounge at the corner of Clearwater-Largo and Rosery roads that will feature an octopus breaking through a wall.
LARGO - During February, the city of Largo will continue to replace outdated residential garbage cans. The older carts, some of which are nearly 20 years old, have become increasingly expensive to repair and can cost double the price of new carts to replace, according to city officials.
Residents in affected areas are asked to empty out their old carts and leave them by the curb after new cart delivery. Old carts will be collected the same week and recycled into new materials.
LARGO - The city of Largo will smoke test the sanitary sewer system in the area between Indian Rocks Road to 128th Street North and Wilcox Road to Dryer Avenue in an effort to locate areas where stormwater or groundwater might be entering the sanitary sewer system.
All affected properties have been sent a letter notifying them of the testing and also will be notified by a door hanger.
LARGO - Code enforcement officers, in conjunction with the Largo Police Department, will begin an outreach effort in February to provide information to commercial business and property owners about the importance of adhering to the city’s window sign standards for both aesthetics and safety reasons.
Sites throughout the city will be visited in February, including along major transportation corridors such as Missouri Avenue, Ulmerton Road and East Bay Drive.
LARGO - Many patrons of the Armed Forces History Museum think its closing will be a shame. But for some, such as Susan Allen, it feels more like a tragedy.
Susan’s father, William Allen, who was a volunteer at the museum until he died in late 2014, has his own exhibit detailing the 2 ½ years he spent as a prisoner during the Korean War.
“When we decided to close, I called his daughter and his wife and it was as if he had died all over again,” said Cindy Dion, assistant executive director of the museum. “And they have been coming here and they have been looking at his area.”
LARGO - Largo Public Library will be hosting a series of educational programs in February to honor Black History month.
The lecture series will cover prominent activists and events in the Civil Rights Movement and will celebrate African-American cinema history by showing a variety of films to inspire, inform and entertain. The film series will conclude with a discussion of the changing roles of black women in film.