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Largo officials want to brighten holidays

Largo Central Park, decorated with wreaths and lighting, may be impressive during the holiday season, but the rest of the city is somewhat blah, city commissioners say.

They want to spruce up the place and put Largo on St. Nick's map.

During a work session Tuesday, commissioners discussed an $86,000 plan from the Recreation and Parks Department for a massive decorations and lights project that would be phased into the city budget over four years.

Commissioner James Miles said the changes could make Largo "look like a full-blown city and not a small town."

If the plan comes to fruition, motorists on East Bay and West Bay drives would see more lighting and decorations on light poles. In coming years, those passing the Largo Cultural Center could see 12-foot wreaths and an 8-foot Santa Claus. In Largo Central Park, the likeness of six feeding deer would be placed near the train area and a Santa workshop display would be installed. Twinkle lights and other accessories would be added to the library and the Largo Feed Store.

The $86,000 includes new decorations, replacements for old ones and the cost of buying electrical circuits to accommodate the decorations.

The plan is preliminary at this point. Cathy Santa, director of recreation and parks, suggested it be broken down into four phases with the city paying no more than $22,000 a year. She plans to propose that the city amend its current budget by taking $22,000 from the general fund, so that the first phase could be implemented by this holiday season.

That first phase would include decorations on light poles from Central Park Drive to Highland Avenue and from Missouri Avenue to Clearwater-Largo Road, where decorations have been scant in the past.