Saturday, February 23, 2013

Daily Affirmation #9 - "Vote Yes - We can beat Belle Glade in the race to the bottom!"

Series of historic postcards of the Gulfstream Hotel







Disclaimer on Banner

Submitted anonymously. 

Lake Worth taking $100 donations to replace ficus tree; donors... | www.palmbeachpost.com

Nice effort for a worthy cause...click title for link to article.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Daily Affirmation #8 - "Vote Yes - If it is too good to be true, that's o.k. - it must still be true ."

Challenge to a Debate - Tuesday March 5th, 7 p.m., Lake Worth Playhouse

I have made arrangements with the Lake Worth Playhouse to host a debate, for the benefit of our fellow citizens and voters, related to the two items on our ballot this March 12th.  The date and time of the debate will be March 5th, 2013 at 7 p.m.

I challenge fellow blogger Lynn Anderson to debate me, Wes Blackman, on the merits of the "Yes" and "No" votes, respectively, regarding the building height item on the ballot.

Debaters to discuss the pros and cons of the moving of the municipal elections from November to March are being sought. Please contact me, Wes Blackman, via e-mail wesblackman@gmail.com to volunteer.

Respectfully,

Wes Blackman

Other voices...This from John Rinaldi via FaceBook

Used with permission.

Why did the city commission decide to create a “Hotel District” in the area between Lake and Lucerne east of Federal?

Tourism is the number one industry here in south Florida and without a hotel the city is at a major disadvantage over every other coastal city in our county. Our property values have plummeted and tax revenues cannot sustain the city. As a result our electric bills are the only thing that keeps us from bankruptcy. We are now poorer than Riveria Beach and almost as bad as Belle Glade.

The Gulfstream Hotel will require major renovations and expansion if it ever to sell and reopen. The current hotel exceeds 65 feet in height and any expansion will require that the adjoining property owned by the hotel allow at least the same height for the expansion.

There are only 6 parcels of land in this area of the city that could also be used as a hotel. To encourage any investor to buy one of these parcels we need to allow at least 65’ of height for a hotel to even be considered.

The purpose of creating a “Hotel District” is NOT TO INCREASE THE HEIGHT LIMITS ALL OVER THE CITY. Rather, it is to limit heights on every parcel of land except those 6 that can support a hotel. 

SO WHAT CAN BE BUILT 65 FEET TALL:

THE ONLY STRUCTURE THAT CAN BE BUILT 65 FEET TALL IS A HOTEL. NOTHING ELSE CAN GO UP THAT HIGH! ( No office buildings, nothing else but a hotel.)

THERE ARE ONLY 6 LOTS THAT A HOTEL CAN BE BUILT ON IN THIS DISTRICT. ONCE A HOTEL IS BUILT THE CHANCE OF A SECOND GOING UP IS SLIM TO NONE AS WE CAN’T EVEN GET ONE BUILT AS OF TODAY.

NO SURROUNDING LOTS CAN BE SOLD TO A DEVELOPER AND ADDED TO THE SIX LOTS ALREADY IDENTIFIED AS THE OTHER LOTS ARE PROTECTED AS HISTORIC.

THE COMMISSION HAS LOWERED THE HEIGHT LIMITS IN OUR DOWNTON AREA FROM 65 (corrected from original - Editor)  FEET TO 45 FEET TO MAINTAIN OUR SMALL TOWN CHARM. THE HOTEL DISTRICT WILL HAVE NO IMPACT ON ANYTHING WEST OF FEDERAL. OUR DOWNTOWN IS SAFE AND PROTECTED AS AN HISTORIC AREA.

In an effort to improve the city’s finance and help our small merchants survive a hotel is desperately needed. A NO VOTE will allow this new district to be formed and give us a chance at getting the Gulfstream back in service. A yes vote will hurt those chances and could see the Gulfstream sold as a rehab center or nursing home.

Get the facts before you vote and don’t be fooled. No one wants to lose our small town charm. We just want our city to have a chance of recovery. Did you know that in the last year, not one piece of commercial property in Lake Worth was developed? Dixie Highway commercial property is in the worst economic shape ever. Save the GULFSTREAM and give us a chance by voting NO.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Palm Beach County’s Lost Towns – The Complete List | Palm Beach Past

Click title for link to a list of former "towns" in Palm Beach County - Jewel and Lucerne are included and are precursors to Lake Worth.  But did you know about "Deer Park" and "La Paz?"  Click title for link.

Greg Rice - Lake Worth's Biggest Local Celebrity 02/22 by High Noon in Lake Worth | Blog Talk Radio

Join me as I welcome Lake Worth resident Greg Rice to the High Noon in Lake Worth studios.  As many of you know, Greg regularly appears on Hulett Environmental Services advertisements on TV.  He is also active in Lake Worth civic activities and has his own interesting life story which I am sure that he will share with us during the show.

Click title for link to live show at noon on 2/22.  Click title for link to archived show after it airs.

CANCELLED DUE TO TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES WITH THE HOST SITE.  WILL RESCHEDULE FOR TWO WEEKS FROM NOW.

Daily Affirmation #7 - " Vote Yes - Provide a solution in search of a problem."

Something to make "yes" voters happy - shrinking buildings!

A few facts from last night's joint Planning and Zoning, Historic Resource Preservation Board meeting

I am waiting for more documentation from the city that I will be including in a future post.  This consists of pdfs of some of the PowerPoint presentations and other graphics.  The city also engaged the services of the University of Miami architecture department to prepare the "what if" images and to test the code to it maximum limits - the "new" code, not the existing code which is much more permissive and allows and has allowed a 65 ft. height limit for many years.  They looked at all the lots considered "developable" east of Federal along Lake and Lucerne Avenues.  In a previous post, I provided some of these images, but there is now more information available.  So look for those coming soon.  Hotels within this area would be the only types of buildings that would be allowed to go to 65 ft., sans the referendum on height.  The likelihood that all six lots would be the home to hotels is highly unlikely.  If not, they would be taken up  - eventually over many years - by other uses.  These "other uses" would be limited to 45 ft. without the assistance of the referendum on height's passage.

A few facts that came out of the meeting I want to share with you now.  William Waters reported that for the past two years, when the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser called the city to inquire about development activity to determine property values in the city, he told them the city of Lake Worth didn't have any commercial development in 2011 and now is telling the same story to them in 2012.  The previous year the Appraiser's office had to call back three times to make sure that was true.  In their experience, it was highly unusual that a city the size of Lake Worth would not have any commercial projects.   Well, here we are now in the second year of no commercial redevelopment activity.

We also found out that Lake Worth has lost 66% of its total taxable property value since 2007 - two-thirds of the city's tax base.  We also learned that the of the 8,000 jobs lost in Palm Beach County since 2002, 1,800 of those lost jobs were from within the city limits of Lake Worth.  When questioned about the vailidity of those numbers, Mr. Waters said that those were indeed jobs lost within the city of Lake Worth based upon census tract data and other information. The loss of jobs does not reflect those people that are or were self-employed during the Great Recession who many were essentially unemployed during that period.

 Furthermore, 29.4 percent of Lake Worth's population ranks below the poverty line - compared to 33.6 percent of Belle Glade's and 24.6% of Riviera Beach's population, our nearest cohorts of Palm Beach County municipalities.

Add that to the 1,400 structures that are vacant or in some threat of foreclosure and you get a sense of where we are in terms of economic development.  The notion that the big, bad developer "wolf" being at the door is ludicrous.

More to come as I get additional information from the city.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Another terrifying image...


From Detroit - Vintage Tall Building Pornography

From  1994, Hudson's department store, after closure, prior to demolition.
A quick list of facts, many courtesy of the Detroit Historical Museum:

The store was 2,124,316 square feet, making it second in size among department stores to only Macy’s in New York. Even then, Macy’s is only 26,000 square feet bigger.

The store was spread out over 32 floors: 25 floors, two half-floors, a mezzanine and four basements.
At 410 feet, Hudson’s was the tallest department store in the world.

The building had 51 passenger elevators, 17 freight elevators, eight employee elevators and 48 escalators. Its largest freight elevator could accommodate a semi trailer.

Hudson’s had to have three transformer centers in the store: They generated enough juice to power a city of about 20,000.

The store had 39 men’s restrooms, 50 for women and 10 private ones for executives. The largest was a women’s lounge on the fourth floor that had a whopping 85 stalls.

It had 705 fitting rooms, a world record.

The dining rooms and cafeterias served an average of 10,000 meals a day - not counting the 6,000 meals a day served in the employee cafeteria on the 14th floor. The 13th floor dining room was renowned for its Maurice salad and Canadian cheese soup.

The store originally had 18 entrances and 100 display windows, which were changed weekly.

The store featured more than 200 departments across an incredible 49 acres of floor space, and it featured about 600,000 items from 16,000 vendors from 40 countries. The building had 51 elevators serving its 17 floors of retail.

From Boca Raton - Tall Building Pornography

Pornography's third definition in Merriam -Webster's Online Dictionary is as follows;  "The depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction "

Individuals and places are what they are, but they are also what they are not.

Kelly Smallridge - Palm Beach County Business Development Board on Palm Beach County Economic Development and Job Creation


The first 12 minutes of the video are of Ms. Smallridge's interview - worth the listen.

MUST LISTEN/WATCH - Presentation by William Waters, Director of Community Sustainability - City of Lake Worth







This series of videos was taken at last Monday's (2/18) Bryant Park Neighborhood Association meeting.  Thanks to Chip Guthrie for operating my camera and tripod to record most of the meeting.  The limiting factor for the camera happens to be the battery, not the memory card, so the very last part of the meeting went unrecorded.  This is an excellent review of where the city is in the process with the re-writing of the land development regulations (eight years in the making), its relationship to the Comprehensive Plan and what would be buildable in a "hotel district" east of Federal Highway with the current 65 ft. height limit.

This is what the Planning and Zoning and Historic Resource Preservation Boards will be discussing tonight at their joint meeting.  Click here for complete back-up material for the meeting.  It is my understanding that we will be in the City Commission Chambers to accommodate more people than the Conference Room.

Lake Worth council OKs formation of enterprise zone | www.palmbeachpost.com

Delores Key made a presentation before the Historic Resource Preservation Board meeting last week and included a presentation on this item.  It was clear from her presentation that there is little economic infrastructure in the city and Lake Worth has a long way to go to address its overwhelming poverty and low income employment base compared to other communities.  This is a start of a long-term process.  Click title for link to article.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

West Palm Beach Named 'Preserve America Community' - Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach - News - The Daily Pulp

Not sure if this is something the city applied for or it was just handed out.  Interesting reading - wonder if it is too late for Lake Worth.  Click title for link.

Monday, February 18, 2013

More Historic Pictures...This Time of our Coastline...

Thanks to Chip Guthrie for allowing me to borrow these to scan.  I believe he said that his mother found the negatives at a yard sale years ago.  You might want to stop by the Potty Doctor's office on Dixie Hwy.  He has one that is not seen there - a large aerial photo looking from the southeast from over the ocean.  You can see the golf course and more of pre-war Lake Worth - before the pace of development quickened.  

These apparently were taken soon after the radio station antenna went up and were taken for someone in association with the radio station for promotional purposes.  As far as Chip can tell, he guesses that these date from the late 30s to early 40s.  Old-timers and not-so-old timers will remember the radio station offices which existed just south of the city's beach property.  It was torn down within the past ten years or so to make way for the condominium just over the line in Palm Beach.
It is hard to see with the scan, but right in the center of this photo is the radio antenna.  This is the a view of the western coastline, looking north.

This is how the barrier island looked before being developed with wall-to-wall condominiums, mostly a post-WWII phenomena.  Also notice the lack of an ocean pier.  This is also a view from the south.  All of the views from this era, one that inspired a postcard, are usually from the north.  The pier in the lower, right center of the picture is probably the one in the foreground of the first picture with the antenna.  Just a little below center would be the location of the radio station.  The Casino building, as it appeared in the 30s without the original tower (lost to the 1928 hurricane) appears in the middle of the picture.

This is looking from the northeast and at the far right edge of the picture you can see the Gulfstream Hotel.  Can anyone identify the one larger building in the lower right quarter of the picture?  The Casino building can be seen just north of the old bridge.  You can clearly see how A1A used to run along the beach, east of the Casino building.  That changed after the 1947 hurricane.  The road was moved to the west and the Lake Worth Lagoon was filled in along the west side of the barrier island.  The parking lot west of the Casino building is built on fill - as is the area currently west of A1A north of the Lake Worth bridge.

Current Listenership Statistics for "High Noon in Lake Worth"


SS United States Conservancy - Chapter 1 of their new documentary...


Check out their website on efforts to save the ship currently at a Philadelphia port.  Also look at the novel way they created a virtual funding mechanism to raise money for the ship's restoration.  People can "buy" certain parts of the ship and leave their own personal mark showing their contribution.

This from Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association Pinterest site...





"There’s something quite magical about watching trams in Barcelona, Strasbourg or Frankfurt glide silently along beds of grass as they do their city circuit. Where possible, this attractive combination of efficient public transport and inspired landscaping should be standard as part of the urban fabric." - Monocle Magazine

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Festival of Trees 2013

 Friends were here yesterday from out of town.  After a hair-cut by Malcolm Cain at his downtown LW barber shop, we wandered over to Too-Jays and then we mingled with those that were visiting the Festival of Trees at the Cultural Plaza.  We picked up some seeds and looked around.


 I was tempted by these hanging pepper plants, maybe next time.
 We had a nice chat with AnnaMaria Windisch-Hunt. She was displaying some of her art work which is featured here.
I also bumped into Dave McGrew who is the city's horticulturalist.  You might remember him being in the news recently related to the removal of the large tree in the Cultural Plaza.  There is going to be an up-coming meeting of the Tree Board on March 14th in the Commission Chambers, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. where the public is welcome to discuss the removal of the ficus tree and the situation/circumstances surrounding it.

Daily Affirmation #6 - "Vote Yes - Eight years of public participation is not enough"

Old memories mingle with new as Lake Worth christens rebuilt... | www.palmbeachpost.com

The PBP coverage of last night's event - they had a photographer there all night long.  Not sure why there aren't more - perhaps they are in the print edition?  And, a small victory, at least now they refer to it as the "rebuilt" Casino building.

Here are some that I took last night.








And these are some that Bill took.











"Puttin' on the Ritz"



"Puttin' on the Ritz" last night at the Lake Worth Casino Ballroom - billed as a "Dance through the Decades", it was also a homecoming event for those that call Lake Worth home. A lot of Lake Worth High School alumni were there too. Here I am pictured in my 12 year old tux - a personal celebration that I am again able to wear it - complete with top hat and white gloves. I am pictured with my date Karri Casper and a mysterious "Lady in Red" from Poland who just wanted her picture taken with me. What a FUN time and a great way to break in the NEW building!