Monday, December 28, 2015

[UPDATE] The Game Changer: Momentous changes may be in store for Lake Worth, West Palm Beach, and many western communities

The Post's Eliot Kleinberg makes it official in this article that has yet to appear in the print edition. Too bad really—this news should have been on the front page in today's Sunday (12/27) paper.

[UPDATE: The article cited above made the front page (A1) in the print edition today, Monday, above the fold.]

To say this is big news is an understatement: Should the C-51 Canal become navigable by pleasure craft and small boats, canoes, and kayaks this will be a game changer for us in Lake Worth, West Palm Beach, and western communities like Palm Springs and Lake Clarke Shores. Simply put, if a lift system replaces the S-155 (the spillway control structure) between West Palm Beach and Lake Worth that will make it possible to navigate between the Intracoastal and the western lakes, one of which is Lake Osborne in John Prince Park.
The S-155 (spillway structure) is on the C-51 Canal east of Dixie Hwy and separates West Palm Beach from the City of Lake Worth. Did you know the term "spillway" is not accurate? The water released actually flows underneath the barriers, not over.
This idea has been talked about for quite some time and now it's advancing with the help of some people many of you will be familiar with. Here is an excerpt from the Post article:
     State Rep. Dave Kerner and State Sen. Jeff Clemens [emphasis added], both D-Lake Worth, whose districts include both sides of the spillway as well as parts of the chain of lakes, are working to get the money, Kerner said.
     The two are pushing for a $250,000 appropriation, funneled through the water management district, to pay for design, Kerner said. They would then go back to the Legislature in the 2017-2018 budget to try to get the money for construction.
     Kerner it could take as long as five years before the lift is in and operating. But, he said, “We’ve been moving quickly. We’ve got a great coalition.”
Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein is quoted in the article but, unfortunately, West Palm Beach Commissioner Shanon Materio is not. Shanon Materio has been working very hard to promote this idea and she should be very proud of her efforts. What was once thought unthinkable may indeed become a reality.

Not to get too far ahead but there's already rumors of a marina along the C-51—we'll leave it at that for now. As more news becomes available will share it with you on this blog. Also, soon I'll compile a list of elected officials for all of you to contact and express your support for this exciting project.

Undoubtedly there will be attempts to scuttle this project by the usual suspects. As always they'll make a lot of noise and make it seem like their numbers are far greater than they actually are. It's the standard array of tactics we've seen a thousand times before over the years. From what I hear Lake Worth Commissioner McVoy has taken a decidedly obstructionist position: not returning phone calls and being generally uncooperative. This isn't surprising by any means and we can expect the same from his cohort Commissioner Ryan Maier.

"Stay tuned" as they say and imagine some day being able to take a boat ride from Spillway Park in Lake Worth to John Prince Park. Wouldn't that be really cool?