1. Pinellas

Tweaks keep Tarpon Springs' Cinco de Mayo celebration in place

TARPON SPRINGS — Last year's inaugural Salsa Cinco de Mayo on Athens was the first event to be held off Dodecanese Boulevard, the main strip on the Sponge Docks, which hosts everything from concerts to festivals to parades.

According to Tarpon Springs Merchants Association officials, the intent of the Cinco de Mayo festival was to introduce visitors to another side of the docks by holding an event on Athens Street. A quieter side street, Athens features a few shops and restaurants, including Costas and Mama's, as well as residential neighborhoods.

Noise and other complaints, however, nearly forced the second edition of Salsa Cinco de Mayo, scheduled for May 4, to relocate.

"We've received many complaints about the DJ and the lights and the noise going too late in the night," Mayor Chris Alahouzos said at a recent City Commission meeting. "There are a lot of residents and businesses around there and some of them don't want that kind of activity in the neighborhood."

But a compromise was reached when the merchants association agreed to several changes that would allow the event to continue on Athens Street. They include: moving the DJ booth from Hope and Athens streets to Athens and Dodecanese; moving the stage to the middle of Costas parking lot; lowering the sound; moving the portable toilets to a better location; eliminating the light show, and making sure police are aware of residents that need access from Hope Street to the alley way.

"Looking at all the changes provided to us by the merchants association, I think it's a good compromise and I'm in favor for it," Alahouzos said.

With that the item passed, 4-0.