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New holiday lights, decorations on tap

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By Pat Hibbs

Residents and visitors and people simply passing through Williston this Christmas season will be delighted with sparkling new lights and decorations along Noble Avenue, from the top of the hill to the east city limits.

Thanks to a generous Community Redevelopment Association allocation of funds up to $24,000, the city will be able to replace some of its older, homemade decorations, which have gotten increasingly weather-beaten and shabby over the years. With new light poles in the East Williston area, decorations will extend along the entire Noble Avenue corridor through town.

That allocation was among the topics discussed at Monday evening's CRA meeting, which was devoted largely to administrative matters.

Members considered the revised priority list of projects prepared by David Connolly, Principal Planner for Withlacoochee Regional Planning Council. Connolly's list was based on extensive deliberations by the CRA over the last few months. It is designed to update the original list published when the Community Redevelopment Plan was adopted in 2003.

The new project list takes into account those activities already completed with CRA participation, even if they did not appear in the original plan.

It also reorders other efforts to take into account current realities in the development of the city. It incorporates the recommended changes to Linear Park, beginning this year with the major alterations to the first block of the park, that in front of the current city hall.

It also includes general projects like gateway improvements and specific items like awnings for the library building.

Minor revisions were suggested, and, once those alterations are made and approved by the CRA, the resolution and ordinance required to implement the changes to the plan will be submitted to city council for its approval.

Members also discussed again the design of the light poles for the first block of Linear Park.

The entire project is about to be put out for bid. After members had contributed their opinions and preferences about the lighting, chairman Dr. Ken Schwiebert was designated as the final decision-maker on the matter.

Interim city manager and finance director Mark Schiefer painstakingly reviewed the proposed CRA budget for fiscal year 2007-2008, asking for members' questions and opinions on the draft document.

The CRA meets on the second and fourth Mondays of the month at 5:15 p.m. in the city council chambers. Public participation is encouraged. For information, please call Terry Summers at city hall, 528-3060.