By Mary Thurwachter

With availability of vaccines for many in the area not expected until spring, Lantana has changed the date of its Centennial Celebration from April 24 to July Fourth.
The decision came during the Dec. 14 Town Council meeting at the suggestion of Manager Deborah Manzo.
“Why not combine our big celebration with our traditional Fourth of July celebration with fireworks and everything?” she suggested.
The council agreed.
“Ms. Manzo and I talked about this before the meeting,” Mayor Dave Stewart said. “I said that in April we’re not going to be able to put 1,500 people over there (Bicentennial Park) and keep 6-foot distance, so why not combine it with our July Fourth celebration?”
With money set aside for fireworks for both the centennial and the Fourth, Stewart said the town could have “a Macy’s level” pyrotechnics show.
“This is a once-in-100-year event, why not make it really special?” Stewart said.
Residents will each receive a copy of a new book on Lantana’s history, free food and music, and get to see the unveiling of a 16-foot sailboat sculpture in the park.
The event will be between 3 and 9:30 p.m. in Bicentennial Park at 321 E. Ocean Ave.
Fireworks, which had to be canceled in 2020 due to health safety concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic, will begin at 9:05 p.m. In other business, the council:
• Learned that it had spent $247,000 to combat flooding problems in the Sea Pines neighborhood in 2020. The money will be taken from the town’s undesignated reserves. Tackling the issue required action by the state, county and town.
• Approved a 1.5% annual raise for Manzo, from $157,000 to $159,000. “Everybody thinks the world of her,” said council member Karen Lythgoe. “Wish we could give her more.” Town employees were also given 1.5% cost-of-living increases.
• Agreed to spend up to $20,000 to rebuild a retaining wall at the Lantana Nature Preserve. The old wall is damaged and beyond repair. Money for the project will be borrowed from reserves.
• Authorized a box lunch holiday party for town employees. The cost may exceed $1,000.

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