Friday, September 14, 2007

Today...

We performed as a trio - me, Jim Stafford and Loretta Sharpe - on the Lake Worth Talk.com "Lunch Box" show. A good time was had by all and we got a little under the skin of some people that were listening, as you can tell by some of the posts on the discussion board. You can use the link to the right on this page to get there.

I also dropped off a number of shows that were stored on my hard drive so that Jim can archive them on his site. Those would include a number of "Lunch Box" shows I did with Walter Baker when Jim was out of town a month or so ago, as well as copies of my own "Truth Matters" show. Once Jim has them uploaded, you can CLICK HERE and that will take you to the archived show area of his site.

I'll be doing "Truth Matters" on Sunday night from 8 to 9 p.m. Hope that you can tune in then as well. Have a great weekend!

International Coastal Cleanup - 9/15

The International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) is the world's largest, one-day volunteer effort to clean up the marine environment. Every September, volunteers from over 100 countries descend on local beaches, rivers, lakes and canals to show their commitment to cleaner waterways. The Ocean Conservancy, the world's largest organization focusing exclusively on the health of the marine environment, has sponsored this annual event for the past 22 years.

In our state, the ICC is much more than just removing trash. By using detailed, standardized data cards, volunteers gather valuable information about the types and sources of debris found. Analyzed and tracked year by year, this information serves as a powerful tool for educating the public, influencing public policy, and effecting positive behavioral change on the part of individuals, organizations, and communities.

The collection of this data by cleanup volunteers of all ages and the resulting report prepared by The Ocean Conservancy is used in the following ways:

  • To raise awareness of the quantities and types of marine debris;
  • To determine the various sources of marine debris;
  • To evaluate the impact of marine debris on wildlife and habitat;
  • To assist in the enforcement of regulations against illegal dumping;
  • To influence industries that manufacture products that cause harm to the marine environment.

Palm Beach County participates in the ICC due to the efforts of Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful, Inc. (KPBCB), a non-profit that coordinates the local event. Palm Beach County volunteers will clean sites from Boca Raton to Tequesta and will receive free t-shirts (while supplies last) to commemorate the event and their efforts.

Volunteers should pre-register and get additional information by contacting the volunteer coordinator below for the site they're interested in, or KPBCB by phone at (561) 686-6646 or by email at keeppbc@bellsouth.net . Report times for most sites is 8:00 a.m. unless otherwise noted.

Lake Worth Beach
*Meet at Kreusler Park (north side of park/beach)
Sponsored by Lake Worth West Resident Planning Group, Inc.
Volunteer Coordinator: Hilda Wudkiewicz (561) 649-9600

Power out this morning...

and power was out last weekend. We are not out of the woods. Where is the $$$ for the upgrade? What is being done? Why isn't anyone talking about it?

The last I heard is that they were inventorying poles. That was about 8 months ago.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Beach and Pier Visit - 9/13


I decided to visit the beach today with my camera. Yesterday, an electrician that is doing work for Benny's chatted with me about what he was hearing - how their operations would be impacted during work on the pier. From what he was saying, the dining area on the pier will be temporarily removed for as long as needed to provide access for the crane. Apparently, the plan was to use the upstairs area as the dining area in the mean time, but that might be in question now as the stairs may not be able to be used.


Other than the southern part of the upper parking area being cordoned off from the general public, things looked pretty much the same as my last camera photo safari on July 1st - same trash pile by the dumpster, same condition of the western end of the pier building, etc. The areas that I pointed out as structural flaws in the Casino building have had a coat of paint put over them - is this some sort of "cover up"? Seems like it, although Mother Nature and chemistry are still hard at work regardless of the paint.

The following is an exchange I had with a professional colleague yesterday. I share it here since it made me realize that we really don't have a waterfront restaurant that takes the most advantage of an Intracoastal or ocean location. I was not sure of the status of Benny's at the time, so I recommended the Dune Deck Cafe that is part of the Town of Lantana Beach property.
Here is the exchange:

I meant to ask you Wes, can you recommend some (several to choose from) luncheon (not too noisy) restaurants in lake Worth? In particular some on the water? And not on the water as well? We have friends in Boynton and we're in WPB, and we need to find some weekend luncheon places but we don't know the area. thanks.

I wish we had more restaurants on the water. We have John G's which has a lunch menu, but is most famous for its breakfast menu. That is right at our beach property, but its ocean view is not that great. Another one which is excellent, but not in Lake Worth, is the Dune Deck - that is at the Lantana Beach. You can get there via the Lantana Road exit from 95, go to Dixie Hwy, turn right and then make the first left. You'll be on Ocean Avenue and that will take you right to the Ritz Carlton, but turn left at A-1A and you'll be at the Lantana Beach. Park there, metered parking and walk up the stairs towards the beach. The Dune Deck is right there. I take my out-of-town visitors there all the time and it makes a nice impression. Bring the camera and take pictures looking over the beach before or after.

As for downtown Lake Worth, Dave's Last Resort is a good bet at the NE corner of K and Lake. And, of course, Toojays at the southeast corner of M and Lake.

I would really recommend the Dune Deck.

Wes
So, think about it. The parking area at the Lantana Beach is down below and you have to walk up stairs to get to the Dune Deck and, only then, can you access the actual sand beach and ocean. Hmmmm - some how that seems oddly like the Greater Bay plan doesn't it? Although the Greater Bay plan would provide a much better view of the ocean from the building and be unlike anything in the region.

Here are some more pictures in case you haven't been there recently:

No work on-going today. Oh, and I didn't see any interviews going on either.


This is the same pile that was here on July 1, 2007.


Construction staging area with crane delivered and some supplies, but not much else.
No one present at 1:15 p.m.



Hmmmmm.


A view of the northern part of the cordoned-off area.

This is the former bar area at the west end of the pier. Besides the wood being more weathered than in July, it could be exchanged for the picture taken then.


Same.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Reminder: Truth Matters 8 to 9 p.m. Tonight!

Join Greg Vannier and me on a special night - click here for link to show.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Trip to Madison, Indiana

Over Labor Day weekend, I spent some time in Madison, Indiana. The reason for the trip was to visit my father. After my mother died in 2003, he sold the house in Michigan and re-located with his new wife to Madison. I spent an over-night there since, but really didn't see much of the town. He visited me last year so it was my turn to visit him and, for many reasons, I'm glad I did.

They say there are no coincidences and this trip to Madison proved that. Of all places that my father could have moved to (or better put, of all places his new partner could live), he chose one that had been one of the three pilot cities chosen by the National Trust for Historic Preservation for the Main Street Program in 1977. CLICK HERE for a link to the National Trust website. CLICK HERE for more information on the Main Street program. To say that Madison's downtown was a "time capsule" would be a complete understatement. But, I am getting ahead of myself.

Madison, Indiana is located on the northern side of the Ohio River, roughly equidistant from the Cincinnati and Louisville metropolitan areas. I happened to arrive in Cincinnati by plane and rented a car, traveling through Kentucky and then crossing the bridge (built in 1928, by the way - very narrow and the same type of construction as the one that collapsed in Minnesota). The road along the south side of the river in Kentucky was particularly picturesque.

I include a map of the general area so you could see the city's location in relation to the river, interstates and metropolitan areas. Madison is indicated by the red star in the center of the map. Madison has a population of about 13,000 and is the largest city in Jefferson County.

Here is an aerial from Google which helps explain a little about the geography and geology of the area. The urbanized area along the northern edge of the Ohio River is made up of the old part of the city. Madison was incorporated in 1809 and gained much of its early economic success as being a trading port on the Ohio River. It was once thought that the then largest city in Indiana would be its capital. For this reason, its streets were platted as broad avenues and boulevard to ensure views of prominent public buildings. However, as settlement continued to move west, the population of Madison stabilized and Indianapolis - located in the center of the state - took on the role of the capital city.

In the Google aerial, the northern edge of the older urban area reflects the steep rise of a bluff, that in some prehistoric time contained the river. My father lives on the bluff that over looks the river and the bank on the Kentucky side. New development including the Walmart and traditional winding street subdivisions all took place later on and away from the older areas of the city. This helped in the preservation of the city, as did a long period of economic restructuring.

According to Linda Lytle of the Convention and Visitor's Bureau, the citizens of the town recognized the uniqueness of their downtown area in the 1960s and established zoning designed to protect the existing structures. The city now has a Historic District Board of Review and a Plan Commission. The entire downtown is designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Below is a brief promotional video that was put together using state dollars that stresses the scenic beauty of the area.

video

The following pictures were taken on the Sunday afternoon of Labor Weekend. The sidewalks were more crowded than represented here, for some reason. It was apparent that the downtown area attracted people from a wide area.

In fact, during my conversation with Linda Lytle, she made the point that they are very aware from where the visitors come. She said that most of the visitors come from the central Indiana area, with the largest secondary market coming from the Cincinnati metropolitan area. Even though the Louisville area is closer, they don't draw much from the south part of their market area. Lesson #1 in the success of a downtown commercial area is knowing your market and where your area draws from.

And this brings us to the Madison Main Street Program. They have a storefront on the main street that is open to the public and contains a lot of literature (more on that in another post). They also work closely with the real estate community and are very aware of the various buildings and spaces that are available for retailers. Realtors direct prospective retailers to available spaces and direct people towards "clusters" of shops that would be conducive for the type of goods and services that they plan to provide. The Main Street folks also target and attract businesses that will serve the surrounding neighborhoods - like hardware and clothing stores - so that they are not over-run a few predominant uses - like bars and restaurants. They also provide a lot of information regarding the care and maintenance of historic buildings. One thing you will notice in these pictures is that there are no neon "open signs" - instead, they have uniform "Open" flags that are mounted outside the business

The point here is that in order to have a successful downtown, you need to work at it. This is especially true in a crowded retail market like we find ourselves in South Florida and Palm Beach County, in particular.


Above is an example of the uniform informational signage program that the convention and visitors bureau has provided.

The following series of pictures represent a vestige of the past. It's the main headquarters for the volunteer fire department. This is right on the main street and that's "Jimmy" - the weather vane at the top of the tower, with his bugle pointing to the next fire. This is a serious undertaking for the volunteers. The picture which shows the door to the fire station has a sign in the window asking for volunteers - "No Experience Necessary - Training Provided".


Below is one of the unique storefronts done in retro fashion. Notice the "Open" flag.

In the picture below, you can see the central part of the downtown area. There were a lot of motorcyclists there over the Labor Day weekend - it looked there were a lot of organized tours.

This is a bank that had a real "frontier" look to it. It dates from the 1830s - real history for us, but still short of the old world standard.

A surprise find - a horse and carriage service. I found out that they have one operating during the day on weekends and holidays, with more scheduled during festivals and special evening events.

Following is a side street that leads to the Ohio River. They have a lot of vacant land along the river that is primarily park space.


The following two photos are of something really cool. The sign announces the existence of public restrooms and vending machines. The City used its discretionary monies to buy and refurbish a former gas station to provide for these amenities. This is important for a couple reasons - it comes in handy for people that are just strolling through the downtown without the intent of shopping and burdening business owners in the use of their bathrooms. And it also uses a gas station - which can be problematic with environmental issues and lack of appropriate uses to house.

Be on the lookout for another post regarding a comparison between Lake Worth and Madison. Many differences, but some surprising similarities.


Check out the City's website and its e-government section. CLICK HERE
(Remember, Madison has a population of 13,000, roughly a third of Lake Worth's)

Truth Matters Show - Lake Worth Talk.com - 9/11 - TUESDAY

We are able to go ahead with the show on Tuesday from 8 to 9 p.m. As some of you may know, the Lake Worth Talk.com apparently was "hacked" on Friday. If it is still down on Tuesday, we won't be able to take questions from the board, but will be able to broadcast the show. Please CLICK HERE for a direct link to the show.

So, join me and Greg Vannier as we discuss my recent trip to historic Madison, Indiana and environs. We'll look at some photos from the trip and, of course, discuss what is going on in our City of Lake Worth. I hope to be able to scan some items related to the continuing saga of the Beach this afternoon - this from items collected from the unsuccessful attempt at a general obligation bond issue from 2002 and earlier.

You can submit questions here on this blog under the Comments button at the end of this post.

Thanks and hope that you'll be able to listen Tuesday.