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Group donates $8,340 to Largo's park
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Park regulars and volunteers Matilda, 4, and her brother Cody Hoffman, 7, of Largo present an $8,340 check from the Friends of Largo Nature Parks to Largo Mayor Pat Gerard during the Dec. 4 commission meeting.
LARGO – The Friends of Largo Nature Parks donated more than $8,000 to the Largo City Commission Dec. 4, the largest such donation to date.

“This is a giant moment for us. It’s the first ever we’ve been able to bring a check to the city commission,” said Friends President Pat Edmond.

The money will go to the repair of the boardwalk at Bonner Park.

Edmond also discussed the group’s work caring for the birds of prey at the McGough Nature Center, including four owls and a red-shouldered hawk.

“It is completely self-supporting. All of the care giving for these raptors is done by volunteers,” she said. “All the feeding and equipment are raised through donations through strategic partnerships.

Partners include Audubon Society of Clearwater, Progress Energy and Busch Gardens, which is providing veterinary care, free of charge.

The group gave the city a check for $8,340, presented by park regulars Matilda and Cody Hoffman, 4 and 7, respectively.

“We hope to get a lot more than that this year.” Edmond said.

Parks Supervisor Greg Brown told the commission that the group gave presentations to schoolchildren throughout the year.

“Last year, Pat and her group saw 3,000 kids in Pinellas County Schools,” he said. “They are a phenomenal asset to the nature parks.”

Over the years, the group has raised more than $10,000 to support the parks.

New games

Later in the meeting, the Largo Commission awarded a bid to The Active Gaming Company for the purchase of equipment for an electronic exercise and game room for youth and adults at Highland Recreation Complex, which is currently undergoing renovations. A total of $89,711 includes the purchase of a Lightspace floor and wall, an Xbox and Kinect system, display screens and interactive electronic games as well as the shipping, installation and a three-year warranty.

The equipment is designed to encourage exercise for both adults and children, explained Recreation, Parks and Arts Director Joan Byrne.

“The whole point is to get people moving, to get them having fun,” she said.
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