LARGO — After about a decade of discussion and 16 months of work, the $5 million Trotter Road reconstruction project is finally finished. And what was once called a “failed roadway” is now a point of pride for neighbors and the city.
The road, which is just west of Taylor Park, had been closed for construction since March 2018 while the city’s contractor, David Nelson Construction, worked to improve the 0.7-mile stretch from Eighth Avenue Southwest to Hillsdale Avenue Southwest.
The newly repaved road is now a gateway to the surrounding neighborhoods and includes landscaped medians, 11-foot travel lanes, 4-foot bike lanes, a 5-foot sidewalk on each side of the road and traffic-calming features.
“They just really made it gorgeous,” said Patty Ruppel, advancement coordinator at St. Patrick School at 1501 Trotter Road.
Ruppel, a resident of Largo for 32 years, has worked at the school for the past six years, but has four children who graduated from it, so she has spent her fair share of time driving down the bumpy roadway.
Ruppel said community members couldn’t be happier with the results, which is why the school will be hosting a grand reopening block party Saturday, July 20.
“I’ve had several people contact me saying that they’re thrilled that it’s fixed and offered to even help with the block party because they are so happy,” she said.
Ruppel said the party will feature free hamburgers and hot dogs, water slides and a variety of games for children. Largo Fire Rescue and Police Department also will be on hand showing off some of their vehicles and equipment.
The 16 months of construction makes the road’s reopening all the more satisfying, Ruppel said, because the closure was a burden.
“It really hurt us as a school and a parish, in that people had a difficult time figuring out how to get to us,” she said.
Ruppel, who also helps organize the school’s annual Fun Fair, said the closure probably cost the school thousands of dollars in revenue the past couple of years.
“We kind of attribute that to the construction in general because we count on people to come in from all over for it, and they just didn’t know how to get to us,” she said.
That closure, Ruppel said, is why Sister Kathleen Luger, who is in charge of religious education at the school, came up with the idea for the block party to let people know the school is still there.
The event will be held from 5:30 to 9 p.m. For questions, call Ruppel at 727-455-1976 or email email@example.com.