CENTERVILLE – Steve Luciani is hoping a meeting with state officials later this week will allow him to continue decorating a street corner in Centerville.
Luciani has been decorating the southeast corner of Route 28 and Old Stage Road with holiday displays for about 20 years. He said he does it simply to bring a smile to the faces of passers-by.
But a complaint from another Centerville resident was received by state officials who determined the displays could not continue because the area is in the state road’s right of way.
State Representative Brian Mannal got involved in the issue last week and set up a meeting between Luciani and state highway officials. The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 18 at 1:30 p.m., Luciani said.
“A department of transportation person is coming down from Boston to look at the site and see if there is a problem that cannot be resolved,” he said.
If the highway officials determines the order must stand, Mannal has said he will file legislation to try to have that land transferred from state land to town land.
“The town manager will try to resolve it and say ‘we’ll take it as town land,'” Luciani said.
Luciani was scheduled to take down the display this week on state orders. But he said he has heard from a large number of people in favor of keeping the displays.
“It’s become a snowball effect and over 3,500 tweets,” he said.
It all started 20 years ago, Luciani said, when he joined the Adopt-a-Spot program in Centerville and began planting flowers on the grassy mediums near his business at Centerville Shopping Center, “just to give people a little bit of levity or start their day off with a smile. That’s what my aim was.”
When the different sites nearby became available as part of the Adopt-a-Spot program, he adopted them. And then when what he calls the “graveyard corner” because available he planted bushes and flowers and installed a smile-y face. He received positive feedback so he expanded the display from there.
Every season he would change the display to coordinate with the holidays, be it Easter bunnies, hearts at Valentine’s Day. “It’s just something everyone looks forward to,” he said.
He said he has gotten messages from as far away as Nevada and from children who have grown up with it.
The state’s opinion on the display, Luciani said, is over concern that it could cause an accident by someone being distracted. He said that hasn’t happened in the 20 years he has been doing it.
Luciani said his main focus is that he does it for the kids. “I’m a kid at heart myself,” he said.