Friday, April 27, 2018
News Roundup

Why isn't there a sign for downtown Largo?

LARGO — Dolcini's Gelato was a sweet spot in downtown Largo. It sold coffee, sorbet and Italian ice, but its specialty was creamy and delicious gelato in flavors ranging from pistachio to Oreo cookies.

But now the shop in West Bay Plaza is just another downtown business that has closed. Dolcini's is no more.

That prompted the store's owner to stop by City Hall and ask elected officials why downtown Largo isn't better supported or at least better defined. Signs point the way to Largo's library, its Central Park and its City Hall, but no signs point out Largo's downtown business district, she told city commissioners at a public meeting last week.

"I never saw a sign that says, 'Welcome to downtown Largo,' " store owner Ahiskell Delgado said. "Where is downtown Largo? I don't know."

That got city commissioners thinking: Why isn't there a sign?

"She brought up a very good point," Commissioner Harriet Crozier said. "She's right. There is nothing."

Two commissioners who work in downtown Largo could only agree. That led commissioners to tell Largo's community development staff to develop a plan to highlight the downtown — which is roughly the area around West Bay Drive between Seminole Boulevard and Clearwater-Largo Road.

Commissioner Jamie Robinson, who manages the Largo Feed & Garden Supply at 210 West Bay Drive, is accustomed to hearing confusion when he tells prospective customers where the store is located.

"As far as the signage in downtown Largo, there is none," Robinson said. "I can't tell you how many people have no idea where we are. As soon as I say 'downtown Largo,' it's like telling them we're on Mars. They don't have any idea where that's at."

Commissioner Woody Brown, who operates Main Street Chiropractic at 520 First Ave. SW, acknowledges that he has a bias as a business owner and resident of downtown. But he said that people in the downtown area feel like the city has moved out, discontinuing city-sponsored events and moving City Hall and the Largo Community Center out of downtown.

"We've been talking a lot about redeveloping downtown, while pulling our services out of downtown," Brown said. "I'd like to, as the economy kind of changes around, pay attention to that area that's been a little bit neglected."

He also added, "The gelato was excellent."

Mike Brassfield can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4151. To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.

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