LARGO - Three long-awaited roadway improvement projects totaling more than $10 million stayed on course Aug. 15 after city leaders unanimously approved contracts and agreements with contractors during a Largo City Commission meeting at City Hall.
All three projects aim to repair the surface of the roadways, make drainage improvements and, in some cases, add speed tables to hinder drivers from using streets as cut-throughs.
LARGO - The Central Pinellas Chamber of Commerce shined the spotlight on five exceptional people at its ninth annual Inspire Awards Luncheon, with Jenn Holloway of News Channel 8 and Great 38 serving as master of ceremonies.
The Inspire Awards celebrate individuals in Central Pinellas who have had a positive impact on the lives of others through their leadership in the workplace and/or involvement in the community.
Multiple nominations were submitted in honor of those who make a difference in our region, five of whom received this year’s awards. They are Melissa Boss Enos of SearchFirst Information Services, Marci Sadorf of the Palms of Largo, Jim Conlin of Raymond James and the Suncoast Performing Arts Foundation, Stephanie Joyner of Largo Middle School and Ellen Petracco of Value Properties of Central Florida and Wealth Builders.
LARGO - After several months of work, the Publix at 13031 Walsingham Road in unincorporated Largo will celebrate its opening with a ribbon-cutting Thursday, Aug. 17, at 7 a.m.
The nearly 46,000-square-foot store, which was completely torn down and rebuilt, will include the same features as other newer Publix stores, including an in-store pharmacy and an adjacent liquor store, according to spokesman Brian West.
He said the first 500 customers will receive a free reusable bag, but they won’t last long.
LARGO - High school students interested in local government now have their chance to become a part of it by applying to join the new Largo Youth Leadership Council.
The city is in the process of forming the council, which will provide reports and updates to the City Commission at meetings, and plan and participate in several community service projects throughout the year. The council will provide leadership opportunities, teach participants about operations and give them a voice in city government.
LARGO - On July 25, city leaders directed staff to take legal action in a dispute with Pinellas County over $800,000 in EMS funding.
After negotiations in recent weeks, it turns out legal action won’t be necessary after all, because city commissioners agreed Aug. 8 during a work session to accept a deal with the county that will include the funding of units in the High Point and Ridgecrest areas over the next two years.
LARGO - For the past 20 years, the Suncoast Performing Arts Foundation has worked to support the arts in Largo. The nonprofit’s efforts, which have included raising nearly $4 million, led to the creation of the Central Park Performing Arts Center and the entertainment of nearly 1.5 million patrons.
But that was just the start, according to foundation president Danny Lehan, because the group has plenty of ideas on how to improve the Center and Central Park.
LARGO - The city of Largo's Engineering Services Division will host an open house to share the final design, project schedule and construction impacts of the Trotter Road Community Streets project on Thursday, Aug. 24, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at St. Patrick Church, 2121 16th Ave. SW.
Trotter Road is a segment of the city’s Community Street Network and a north-south segment within the city's Southwest Urban Trail Corridor. Construction is expected to begin in 2018 and will provide improvements to the roadway and drainage facilities within the Trotter Road right-of-way from 8th Avenue Southwest to Hillsdale Avenue.
Work begins on downtown pocket park LARGO - Work has begun on the downtown pocket park at the southwest intersection of Ridge Road and West Bay Drive, according to Community Development Director Carol Stricklin.
The site was a portion of a parcel left over from the original widening of West Bay Drive that the city worked on in conjunction with the Florida Department of Transportation. The park will be constructed using the reclaimed bricks from old road projects and will be landscaped to match the landscaping planned for the Urban Trail Head improvements at the Pinellas Trail and West Bay Drive that will start in fiscal year 2018.
LARGO - When city leaders discussed a public art program that would subsidize murals and wraps on traffic-control boxes earlier this year, they had one concern that derailed it. They didn’t want Largo taxpayers to foot the bill.
That won’t be a problem for a new project to paint a pedestrian crosswalk because the North Pinellas Cultural Alliance has agreed to pay an artist $2,000, which is why city commissioners agreed Aug. 1 to move forward with the proposal.
LARGO - Four out of the seven areas in the Clearwater-Largo Road District Improvement Project have met the minimum approval for the installation of speed tables, according to Rafal Cieslak, a design engineer for the city.
Staff mailed out 164 traffic calming petitions to seven areas, and a total of 104 petitions were returned and verified. The four areas that met the 60 percent approval threshold to proceed are First Avenue Northwest, Howard Drive, 11th Street Northwest and 12th Street Northwest.
LARGO - The American Institute of Family Law Attorneys recently recognized the performance of Florida family law attorney Steven Glaros as Four Years 10 Best Family Law Attorney for Client Satisfaction.
The American Institute of Family Law Attorneys is a third-party attorney rating organization that publishes an annual list of the Top 10 Family Law Attorneys in each state. Attorneys who are selected to the "10 Best" list must pass AIOFLA's rigorous selection process, which is based on client and/or peer nominations, thorough research, and AIOFLA’s independent evaluation. AIOFLA's annual list was created to be used as a resource for clients during the attorney selection process.
LARGO - In the proposed budget for fiscal year 2018, City Manager Henry Schubert recommends keeping the current property tax rate.
Considering the financial challenges the city faces in the coming years, city commissioners aren’t quite ready to agree, and they proved that July 25 when they voted 6-0, with Mayor Woody Brown absent, to propose an increase in the millage rate that would cost the average homeowner about an extra $50 a year.
LARGO - Forward Pinellas Executive Director Whit Blanton calls the Gateway area Pinellas County’s economic engine. With a new $1 million master plan that examines transportation and land-use concerns, Blanton aims to give that engine a tune-up.
But the stakeholders - Largo, St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park and Pinellas County - need to each pitch in $100,000 to bring that plan to fruition, he said during a City Commission work session July 18.
LARGO - After several years of holding an open mic event at the Largo Public Library, Wayne Williams said a couple used to come by and tease him by asking him how the poet laureate of Largo was doing.
He’s heard the same question recently from friends and poets from around the country. Only this time it was serious, because on July 11 Williams was named the city’s first poet laureate.
“They could not offer me a bigger honor than to say I am the poet laureate of this city,” said Williams, 64, of Largo. “There is nothing that they could say to me or do for me that would be a greater honor to me. Nothing.”