State Says Centerville Roadside Display Must Go

A beach scene is at the corner of Route 28 and Old Stage Road in Centerville.

A beach scene is at the corner of Route 28 and Old Stage Road in Centerville.

CENTERVILLE – For 20 years, Steve Luciani has been decorating the corner of Route 28 and Old Stage Road across the street from his business. But he will have to remove it next week, by order of state transportation officials.

“For 20 years, I’ve been taking care of the corner display at Old Stage Road and Route 28, putting up different seasons of Halloween, Christmas, Fourth of July, which was an Iwo Jima display, Easter displays with bunny rabbits, Irish day, pots of gold and there are also winter scenes and summer scenes.

The display began 20 years ago with a large smiley face and expanded over the years to include all the holidays and most recently, a beach scene with real sand, a painted backdrop and a mannequin of a woman in a bathing suit.

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When the mannequin was stolen a few weeks ago, Luciani put an advertisement in the newspaper about it. That prompted a Centerville man to write a letter to the editor complaining about Luciani’s displays.

Luciani says the man also sent the letter to state transportation officials as well. Because the display is in the state highway department right of way, it is a potential safety hazard, state officials determined.

Those officials sent a letter to Luciani last week saying the display has to go.

“It’s a shame that he had to open up a can of worms that in 20 years no one complained. The state’s feeling is people might be going around the corner and looking at the display and getting in an accident. Well, there’s been no accident there pertaining to that for the past 20 years,” Luciani said.

He says motorists have already told him they will miss the displays. “It makes people’s mornings start,” he said.