Saturday, April 21, 2007

One Visitor's Perspective...

Between work and a visit from a long time from from Dallas this week, I've had little time to post anything here. We had a great time at Karaoke Thursday night and I've posted some pictures from that evening. My friend, Andrew, is a person I first met right after I moved to Florida from Michigan. We met cause he happened to work with my partner-at-the-time and we have been close ever since.

Andrew and me at the Mad Hatter

We hear a lot about people moving out of Lake Worth - especially from those that like to see the glass as more than half empty. Andrew is someone who wants to move back to Lake Worth. He moved out of the area in the early 90s, received his Masters Degree in Social Work from a school in Iowa (where his family is from) and then moved to Dallas. He is at a point in his life now that he would like to return here, as most of his family is now gone and the "family" that he does have is still in the area, most of those people live in Lake Worth.

His situation is such now that he is looking for an apartment in the low $700/month range. We looked at some properties yesterday - sort of drive-bys. Some on North J - didn't like - and some in an around the downtown area. One right across from the former Mayor's house and another one in a nicely kept historic apartment building in the Downtown Jewel neighborhood (those two were o.k, maybe better than o.k.). He'll follow up on those today.

We'll also make it to the Art Cars exhibit on J Street today.

Madame Sue-Nami and Andrew at Karaoke

My point in telling you this story - and there is a little more beyond the apartment story - is that there are still decent "affordable" rental housing units in the City of Lake Worth that can attract quality people that will be able to contribute to our community. This is a good thing.

The other part of the story is that he spent some time yesterday at the beach - later in the afternoon. Last night, he couldn't stop talking about how "sad" it is to look at the pier and how after the hurricanes - it is still not repaired. I explained to him how FEMA is involved, the contract is let and work should be starting "soon". That still didn't satisfy him. Beyond the pier, he went on to say the "dogged-eared" condition of the buildings shows that the City hasn't thought that it is important to maintain/repair or replace these important public buildings on our most important property. He went on to say that to see the pier in that condition told him that City government has failed to maintain something in an acceptable condition and that broadcasts to the world that the City "just doesn't care" and that "bleeds over into other areas" related to citizen morale, crime and most poignantly, represents "City-sanctioned blight". He also agreed with me that it represents an important part of the City's heritage that is important to preserve.

I told him he could have been me on the campaign trail talking about the beach.

And, to be honest and to give you some assurance that I am not making up the story, he doesn't like some of the townhouses along Federal.

So the moral of the story - in order to keep our City so that it is considered an attractive place to move back to-we need to make sure our public properties are in good shape - especially our flagship beach property.