Thursday, November 17, 2016

Putting the City of Lake Worth on the radar: Redevelopment, investment, and confidence moving forward

What a terrible headline in the Post! Didn’t the editor read the first few paragraphs in the article by the reporter Kevin Thompson?
From the article: . . . more than 100 like-minded entrepreneurs, developers and commercial Realtors who packed the Lake Worth Casino ballroom for  ‘Destination Lake Worth . . .’ ”. But the headline reads, “Mayor tries to persuade”? Huh?

The Lake Worth CRA’s very well-attended, standing-room-only event last week (Thursday, 10/11) finally made it into the Post. I also attended this meeting and wrote about what happened last Sunday. The meeting was very positive. The negativity the Post reporter picked up on was something I didn’t notice at all. Why a good, positive event needs to be “balanced” with some negative observations seems very unnecessary.

And something I forgot to include in the original blog post, information from CRA Chair Cary Sabol: Since the depths of the Great Recession property values within the CRA District have increased seventy-six per cent. That’s right, 76%. A factoid that will silence the critics. Again. If you don’t remember those critics of our CRA, use this link for a refresher.

There’s another important meeting coming up on November 29th addressing our City’s revamped Land Development Regulations (LDRs). To learn more and register use this link. This event is free and parking is free as well for attendees.

Promotion for the event last Thursday, “Destination Lake Worth”.

Last Thursday afternoon the Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) held an event called “Destination Lake Worth—Investment and Development in Lake Worth.” It was targeted to property owners and potential investors to let them know Lake Worth is “open for business” and presented reasons why investment in the City is a good idea whose time has come. 

The meeting was a resounding success as the pictures throughout this post attest.

A very large crowd in attendance. For those arriving late it was standing-room-only. (To schedule an event or meeting at the Lake Worth Casino call the Citys Event Manager, Lauren Bennett, at 561-533-7395.)

Check out my videos in the playlist from the event by clicking here.

The CRA did an excellent job of presenting all their information with useful displays around the Casino Ballroom.

About what you’ll see in the videos: Commissioner and Vice-Mayor Pro Tem Andy Amoroso gave an introduction to the standing-room-only crowd highlighting all the activities and programs going on in the Downtown area. He then introduced Mayor Pam Triolo who continued to tell the crowd that Lake Worth welcomes the business community and our Land Development Regulations are now firmly in place. This followed 8 years of not knowing what to expect in the development review process under previous commissions and prior City administrations.

The mayor also talked about all the benefits of Lake Worth’s east-central Palm Beach County location and how communities to the west use this City as their Downtown. It’s a place where they can go to have a fun night out and experience all the art and cultural offerings here. She mentioned how the City is going after hotels and more businesses in our Park of Commerce.

You really should watch the first video in the playlist to hear all of what Mayor Triolo says.

Those in attendance showed great interest in the presentation and also asked many very good questions.

Lake Worth CRA Chair Cary Sabol told the assembled about programs and successes over the years. This takes up most of the 2nd video in the playlist. Among the achievements are the $23 million NSP2 program which rehabilitated a significant number of homes within the CRA district. He also mentioned the CRA’s involvement in attracting Publix and talked about the CRA’s involvement in the relocation of the Palm Beach County Cultural Council to the Downtown as well.

As far as upcoming and current projects he said the CRA is working toward establishing a WiFi system that will be part of the City’s infrastructure and will utilize electric poles throughout the CRA district as a way to bridge the “digital divide” for those with challenges accessing the Internet.

I highly recommend you watch the information presented by Clay Craft, Retail Development Director of Retail Strategies. That’s the group the CRA employed in 2014 to assess the retail market potential in Lake Worth. They looked at what goods and services are not available currently to many areas of the City.

Mr. Craft then identified retail, “brick and mortar” opportunities that are currently unmet in many areas: full-service and quality fast-service restaurants, specialty grocery stores, clothing, and the entertainment sectors. It was a lot of information presented in a PowerPoint but it did go quickly and got a lot of attention I noticed. Also recommend you watch it a few times and don’t hesitate to pause the video and study some of the slides. 

You’ll find out about sophisticated tools and information that can be gathered now to assess relative strengths and weaknesses in retail markets. Interestingly, Mr. Craft identified the 15% rate of those having college degrees in this City, something that is lagging in the demographic profile. Retailers like areas where that number is closer to 35%.

I’d be interested to know what you think about this event. Here’s my contact information:
  • Phone: 561-308-0364
  • Email: Wesblackman@gmail.com
All in all it was a banner day for the City of Lake Worth. Remember, another presentation by the City’s Community Sustainability Director, William Waters, will be held at the Casino on November 29th, sponsored in part by the Palm Beach County Planning Congress (see link at the beginning of this blog post). The target audience is government, land planners, land use attorneys and other professionals associated with redevelopment and investment but the business community and investors are welcome as well.

“Two Thumbs Up” for Lake Worth, our future, and to the CRA for putting on such an informative event.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, what an event! We are so lucky to have such professional, smart people on the CRA. No city event has ever been this successful which means people know our CRA is the way to redevelop this City. I wish they had more authority. They cover such a wide range of issues, from redevelopment to wifi to arts. So impressed and they do it with a small staff. Great event on Sat at Day of Dead and now this great meeting. Proud to be a citizen here.

Anonymous said...

The purpose of the CRA is to go out of business. When your city doesn’t need them anymore the CRA goes away. But as long as you keep putting anarchists on the ballot & elect people like McVoy the CRA will never go away. Voters need to grow up and pay attention. Your vote isn’t for free entertainment at commission meetings.

Anonymous said...

Great event. Another good job by the CRA.