Saturday, August 13, 2016

Recall the series on the history of the Gulfstream Hotel last year? And what has stopped the historic hotel from being successful?

The banner for the Coastal/Greenacres Oberver.

The series ran last year, was in 4 parts and wildly popular with readers.

Below is an excerpt from the introduction of that series in October of last year that sums up nicely the early history of the Gulfstream Hotel, the highs points and the low ones as well. But first, what has stopped this historic hotel from being a success? The answer is a simple one: Parking.

Somewhere laying around I have an article written by Deacon Rhodes in The Lake Worth Herald on December 6th, 1984 titled, "Gulf Stream Hotel Is Seeking Larger Dining, Parking Areas". What struck me was the very same problems the hotel experienced over 30 years ago would remain a problem today if the hotel were open for business without a parking garage nearby. In a blog post from last year wrote this after reading that article from 1984:

     What’s interesting about this article is this: sans names and factual references this article could appear in the Herald today and apply to the current situation with the Gulfstream Hotel as it exists now and have existed for many years.
     Why is that? One of the main issues with the hotel has nothing to do with the actual building itself but the lack of parking. Remember, the Gulfstream was constructed in the 1920’s and the automobile wasn’t as yet the public’s preferred transportation option when visiting the state of Florida.
     Most visitors to the hotel in the early years arrived by train, planned stays of long duration, and didn’t need or particularly want to have their own personal vehicle.

Just like a modern business traveler, visitor, or tourist wants safe and secure accommodations for themselves, they also want a safe and secure place for their personal vehicle, be it their own car or a rental. And they also want their car nearby, the freedom to come and go as they please. A crucial part of the Gulfstream redevelopment is a parking garage: something the hotel has needed for many decades. Finally, that is becoming a reality.

Below is a good summation of the early history of the Gulfstream Hotel, from the introduction to the series that appeared in the Coastal Observer:

     Most Lake Worth residents are familiar with the historic Gulfstream Hotel, originally called “El Nuevo.” Building of the hotel started in 1923 and the stately Mediterranean Revival, six story building opened in 1925. Its opening coincided with the end of the Florida real estate boom of the 1920s. That boom opened the world, particularly the northeast and midwestern United States, to discovering Florida as an escape from the frigid winter weather. 
     The advent of railroads and train travel in last decade of the 19th Century, combined with the introduction later of the automobile and the roads upon which to travel, contributed to expansion of both the tourist trade and permanent residents in the south Florida area. Lake Worth played its own role in this expansion, promoting itself as the “Wonder City”, complete with its own electric power company meant to fuel the growth and prosperity of the area.

[and. . .]

     Early in its history the hotel suffered some devastating circumstances that were beyond its control. First, a strong hurricane hit the Miami area in 1926. For many historians this signaled the end of the 1920s boom years of development in south Florida. Investors began to question whether the unbridled growth of the previous years, much of it based upon rampant speculation, could continue.
     Then, in 1928, Lake Worth itself was hit by one of the strongest hurricanes to make landfall ever in the continental United States. The hurricane’s impact on the Gulfstream Hotel was so severe the hotel would remain closed from the damage for eight years.
     Upon re-opening, the hotel found its niche through aggressive marketing almost immediately. Under the same ownership, it stayed open during World War II, catering to officers and others stationed here during the war years. After the war years turned out to be the best years for the Gulf Stream Hotel.

It's time to get excited about the redevelopment of our iconic, historic hotel. Those who filed the lawsuits will not go away and they'll continue to be negative and spiteful. Don't get angry. Stay positive and engaged. It's an exciting time to be a resident in the City of Lake Worth.
The Gulfstream: Standing tall.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Victory for the City of Lake Worth and the crucial role of our late good friend, Loretta Sharpe: She rallied the City to fight back

You can really think of the "height" issue as something that had been brewing for ten years. It finally ended yesterday by three judges who made the decision. They made a decision without even having a hearing. They didn't have to. It was an easy case.

Remember the "master plan" process that cost the City over $1.2 million in taxpayer money, lasted eight years and ended up with the development community so confused that no new commercial investment happened in the City? Maybe that was the real goal of the hilariously named 'Respectful Planning' PAC?

That is behind us now and it is clear what can and cannot be built in our downtown. The maximum height limit is 45 feet and 65 feet if it is a hotel in the hotel district with more than 50 units, either a stand-alone version or one that is part of a mixed-use project. Period. End of story.

I remember when the petitioners were successful in getting the referendum put on the ballot. It came at a time many of us were tired of the group that played "we-will-never-be-happy" games with our City. We were weary. But there was one resident that wasn't going to take it anymore. That was our late good friend, Loretta Sharpe. I remember her calling me, in a very persistent way, and convinced me forming a PAC called "Friends of the Gulfstream" to oppose the height limit referendum was a good idea.

Greg Rice joined the effort too, along with other people that were tired of the lies and half-truths that regularly circulated around this city related to development or redevelopment. Regardless of how we got to where we are now, though failing at the ballot box, Lake Worth found a way to be a friend of the Gulfstream Hotel. This building on the National Register of Historic Places is also the tallest building on our waterfront on the most prominent piece of property in the City.

It is finally going to get the respect it deserves in the form of sensitive rehabilitation and the creation of a quality place city residents and those visiting the City of Lake Worth can enjoy.

Thank you for your desire to never quit, Loretta. This is your victory too and we can't forget that.

Ideas for the future of our Bryant Park and Casino at the BEACH!: Concession stands? Billboards?

The latest, if you didn't hear, is Commissioner Ryan Maier's idea to create revenue for the BEACH! and Casino is a huge billboard. Not joking. After 17 months in office this is what he comes up with?

And now it seems he's completely on board with kiosks and concessions on the BEACH! after lambasting the idea for months during the ITN debate. Remember, he was totally against any commercialization whatsoever at the BEACH! but now he's OK with it. Isn't that shocking?
SHOCK! shoCK! Remember the ITN when Maier was against any "commercialization" of the BEACH! Isn't this new development shocking?
The video below is a little over one minute. Then-candidate (now-Commissioner) Maier has ideas about our Bryant Park, the BEACH!, and the failing Casino complex. If you listen closely you can hear the chuckling in the audience.

This is the same candidate who proposed building a new college here in Lake Worth. An idea he's not mentioned one single time since being elected.

Enjoy Maier's grand ideas for Lake Worth's Bryant Park and the BEACH!, then ask yourself these questions, "Is this my vision for the future of Lake Worth? Selling beer in Bryant Park? Billboards too?":

Did the news about the Gulfstream Hotel yesterday make the print edition of the Post today?

No. But the story about a mistake on a City flyer did (see blog post following).
A correction in the Post. The latest information I found is Joan Collins is still alive.
Makes you wonder, doesn't it? A mistake on a City flyer is big news but the news about our Gulfstream Hotel isn't?
By the way, it's "Millennials". Courtesy of a blog reader.

News from the City: Ordinance makes it illegal to sell “packaged alcohol” products between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

August 11, 2016 – Lake Worth, Fla.

The City of Lake Worth is reaching out to business owners clarifying a message on a poster hand-delivered to business owners. Posters intended to outline Ord. 2016-15 were designed to reach merchants with news of prohibition of the sale of packaged alcohol products between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

To clarify, this Ordinance pertains only to packaged alcohol products. It is illegal for businesses that sell packaged alcohol products to sell them between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

The ordinance does not prohibit the sale of alcohol served in establishments, with a valid liquor license.

Sad to report: The "Screen on the Green" in Lake Worth is cancelled tonight

Thursday, August 11, 2016

BREAKING NEWS—Press release: "Court rules in favor of Lake Worth’s Gulfstream Hotel project"

August 11, 2016 – Lake Worth, Fla. - The City of Lake Worth has prevailed in defending the zoning of the Gulfstream Hotel.
     The three-judge Appellate Panel of the Circuit Court unanimously issued a ruling that states: “The Petition for Writ of Certiorari is DENIED.”
     The decision is the Court’s rejection of an effort that would have resulted in thwarting the revitalization of the Gulfstream Hotel and the 12-block surrounding area known as Lake Worth’s Hotel District.
     In February, the City was challenged by three citizens about whether construction of a 65-ft new building expansion of the Gulfstream Hotel was in compliance with Downtown height limits.
     The ruling, allows the $70 million project, owned by Hudson Holdings, to move forward with their construction.
     City of Lake Worth Mayor Pam Triolo said she is thankful for Judges’ decision.
     “This community has longed for the reopening of our beautiful, historic hotel and this decision now clears the way,” said Mayor Triolo.
     “The Gulfstream Hotel will revitalize the community and serve as a catalyst in our Downtown, to bring in much-needed tourism for our businesses and great lodging for the friends and relatives of our residents.”

Enjoy the video below of 22-year-old Ariana Peters at the Lake Worth City Commission on January 5th, 2016, giving testimony why she believed the Gulfstream Hotel redevelopment would be so positive for the City of Lake Worth. At the 1:00 mark she says:

"I believe the Gulfstream project is not only the right step but also a very crucial step in the right direction. I thank the board for their consideration of this project and I'm looking forward to the re-opening of this great landmark bringing people to Lake Worth who have always been hesitant [emphasis added] and to finally showing off our town's incredible Downtown and one of the best assets Lake Worth has to offer. Thank you." [standing applause follows]

This week's Herald is out—More news you can use from a true community newspaper: The Budget Workshop and Adult Kickball coming to LDub!

See the headline, front page above the fold, about what happened at the City's Budget Workshop last Tuesday: Use this link. Print edition out each Friday. Pick up for ¢50 at the City's Downtown newsstand located at 600 Lake Ave.
Here is the news in the Herald about "Adult Kickball" coming to Lake Worth:

Adult Kickball will be held every Thursday evening from 7–9 p.m. beginning September 15 at the NW fields, 900 22nd Avenue North. This program is for men and women 21 years of age and older. For more information call 954-557-8717 or email info@ultracoedsports.com

Also in the Herald is news about "Girls Youth Softball Tryouts". The season starts September 19th for ages 6–12:

For more information call the Lake Worth Recreation Department at 561-533-7363 or by email shaughn@lakeworth.org

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

According to Dr. Peter Newman we are past "Peak Car"

I attended a talk last night in West Palm Beach at the Drama Works by Professor Peter Newman on his new book, "The End of Automobile Dependence: Global and Local Trends Moving Away from Car-based Planning". It was a refreshingly optimistic talk about car use (trending downward) and growth in central city areas (trending upward).

This is his third book on the subject and available on Amazon. He uses many graphs to show how wealth has been "decoupled" from fossil fuel use around the world. The good news is that, according to Dr. Newman, we won't have to plan around the car much longer. Other modes of transit will be the predominant forms, especially trains and walkable/bikeable neighborhoods. This trend seems to have "legs".

The video below is part of a playlist. Use the "1/3" icon in the top left corner to watch the three videos. Use this link and click "Subscribe" to get noticed when new videos are available. 

This event was hosted by the Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions (CUES) at FAU and sponsored in partnership with the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority and the Palm Beach County Planning Congress.

Lot's of great news for Lake Worth utility customers from last night's (8/9) City Workshop: Be patient, the Herald will be out tomorrow

UPDATE: The video is available from the City Commission Workshop. Use this link and click "Video" for August 9th Budget Work Session.

Other than commercial trash pickup, a discussion that will continue, reports I've received are mostly good news about the City's funds (excerpt for the Beach Fund, of course, see the following blog post). Lake Worth's utility customers will be very happy. I was unable to attend the meeting but The Lake Worth Herald will have the news tomorrow. So be patient. Don't count on any news in the Post about this; but if they do report something it will be anything negative they can harp on.
The Herald will be out tomorrow. To subscribe use this link. The print edition comes out Friday: pick up at the City's newsstand at 600 Lake Ave. across from Starbucks.
Of course, the discussion about potholes, streets, and the November referendum is a topic of discussion and the Post's Kevin Thompson has this interesting line in his recent article vis-à-vis the July 7th workshop where Katie McGiveron acted out:

"The workshop was prematurely adjourned by Mayor Pam Triolo after resident Katie McGiveron shouted at commissioners, saying the city should have had an open dialogue about the bond issue."

So, now McGiveron is a "resident" and no longer president of the CAUT PAC? In the next article will she be a 'concerned resident' and later on a 'infrastructure expert'? And the Post still, conveniently, will not report on the challenge laid down by Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell for critics to come up with their own ideas and ballot language. Don't forget about this:The question for Commissioner Chris McVoy, PhD, at the 1:48 mark by citizen/reporter Peggy Fisher: "Where's his [McVoy's] plan? I haven't heard his plan." Silence.

The Budget Workshop last night and that blog post first published last Saturday: "Hmmm. What's with the $6 million that was borrowed for the Casino?"

Wow. Where to start? 

The blog post first published last Saturday (see below) caused quite the stir at the City Commission workshop last night. A meeting that should have ended about 8:00 went on past 10:00. 

After discussion about the City's funds it was then all about the failed Casino project. And the pool. And a whole lot of other things the public needs to know. It's a mess.

I was not able to attend the workshop last night on the budget but did catch the last 1½ hour or so live streaming on the City's video feed. When I started watching learned they were talking about the Beach Fund and Commissioner Chris McVoy's head was cradled in his hands. It was a very bad night for him. After last night no one will be holding any grand illusions for the "sound business plan" at the beach. The entire project that started in 2009 is a complete disaster.

How bad is it? I heard Commissioner Ryan Maier say a large billboard might help generate some revenue. And now he wants to talk about concession stands too. I guess the ITN idea wasn't so bad after all, huh?
Remember the ITN? Doesn't sound like such a bad idea any more, does it? Now everyone is scrambling for ways to fix THE BEACH. Maier now wants a billboard and more concessions for revenue. What a SHOCK!
At a certain point (will have to watch the video when it becomes available) Mayor Pam Triolo says to McVoy, "you're inconsistent and disingenuous". And she continued on. She had enough. This entire quote, and video to come, will be one for the ages.

We were reminded by William Waters, the City's Sustainability Dir., that the pool building was under a "condemnation order" when he first came to work for the City. Looking at McVoy he looked like he needed medical care after that one. 

There was talk of closing the pool for good and there might be a glimmer of hope to lease out the second floor. Parking was never supposed to be the main source of revenue at the beach but it is. McVoy wants to raise parking rates. But how many people would stop coming to our beach? No one has any idea. 

Without further ado, the blog post from last Saturday that created all that stir:

Is the loan being paid back? Several payments have already been missed or paid back at a reduced amount. The City was supposed to repay that money at the tune of $500,000 each year. We'll all learn soon how the "Beach Fund" is doing later; see the agenda below. But first enjoy this video of Commissioner Chris McVoy, PhD, back in October 2010 at a debate held at the Lake Worth Playhouse: McVoy said:

"My priorities, if I'm elected, are to make sure our beach project, an excellent project and one that can enhance our city in many ways is completed. I think the time is perfect for it."

If you've been following the latest developments you know the Lake Worth Casino complex is still not complete. Look in the right-hand column for, "Casino debacle finally nearing an end?" or use this link. Here is the agenda for Tuesday's Budget Workshop:

FY 2017 Budget Overview
Introduction
Financials
Burton and Associates modelling of the following funds:
  • Electric Fund
  • Water Fund
  • Local Sewer Fund
  • Regional Fund
  • Beach Fund
  • Other Funds
August 23, 2016: Wrap Up Budget Session All Funds

Did you know the Casino still does not have a Certificate of Occupancy? Were there other plans presented to the Commission back then? Yes. Here is the Greater Bay Site Plan that was rejected by the City without the public having a chance to formally review it:
Note with this site plan the Casino structure is in the center of the property with a new pool to the north and a parking garage. This plan came at a huge cost which is explained below.
Most people are aware there are a multitude of problems at the Casino complex, municipal pool, and beach. However, what people are coming to understand is the basic flaw of the 'new' Casino and the previous structure: THEY WERE BOTH BUILT IN THE WRONG PLACE. As shown in the image above, the plan by Greater Bay was to have the structure in the center of the property along with a parking garage. That way there are no ADA issues, nearly every parking spot is close to the building, and access for emergency vehicles is increased. 

Any normal weekend at the beach and you can clearly see the flaw having the Casino on the north of the property. In addition, were the Casino in the center of the area a new building would have been constructed with pilings. The current building DOES NOT HAVE PILINGS.
McVoy, a PhD, supported constructing the new Casino east of the Coastal Construction Line without pilings.
A clear ocean vista is what one would have seen when cresting the bridge if the Greater Bay plan prevailed. Instead, what you see now is the back of a boxy building. How very charming.

The Greater Bay plan was for the new construction behind the Coastal Construction Control Line. I don't think I need to remind you the City tore down the former building for the NEW casino building that exists today in the same location. The Greater Bay plan also shows a single deck parking area west of the Casino building which would have provided direct access to both levels of the building.

This site plan (see image above) shows a total of 780 parking spaces and a significant amount of green area in the southeastern part of the property. And guess what! The eyesore of a pool building is gone with this site plan. Unfortunately, this planor worthy elements of itwere never allowed to see the light of day in terms of being formally reviewed by the City.

You could say this plan by Greater Bay (which you were never shown) cost the City around $2.5 million$1.6 million in a settlement to Greater Bay and around $900,000 in legal fees defending the City's indefensible position. It also represents a high degree of opportunity costs: We have to deal with a less functional beach property along with the consequences.

Now you can see why elections are so important. Commissioner Chris McVoy may be up for re-election on March 14th, 2017.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

SkyVue Apartment Building in Lansing, Michigan

Urban planner, have camera, will travel. And when I do see things like this to share.
This is the SkyVue Apartment building that is being built on a long-time former car dealership property near Michigan State University. According to this article it will have 338 apartments. A majority of them (144) will be one-bedroom units that will cater to singles, retirees and empty-nesters, but the predominant market will be university students. Their website stresses proximity to bus transportation routes that will offer bike storage within the building. However, it also has a large parking garage that takes up about all of the northwest corner of the building. There is also to be a small amount of retail space of 4,000 square feet planned for the first floor.

You can also check out construction progress and select different dates showing construction over time. You can even compare different days side by side by clicking here.

The project sits immediately south of the Frandor shopping center that was built in the mid-1950s. Here is an aerial view of the area that shows the extent of surface parking around the center which was typical during that period.
The SkyVue project will take up the lower right corner (SE) of this picture. A Sears store is to the west.
What struck me was the combination of all the structured parking built into this new project, without any integration to the existing shopping center that surround, along with its acres of automobile parking. Michigan is still building as if cars will be the dominant form of transportation from now and long into the future.

Here are some more pictures I took while walking around the area. The problem is the abundance of parking and the message that it sends. The property is within a reasonable walking distance to the university campus.
A massive parking garage. . .
. . . and acres of existing, unused surface parking lots nearby.
More surface parking.
Eastern and northern elevations.

The Sister City Board: "In Case of Emergency Break Glass"

Is it time to break the glass? Yes. The City Commission needs to step in and take care of this situation. Somehow.

For 4 months in a row the Sister City Board has been unable to reach a quorum to do their business. For more on this look in the right-hand column for "Unbelievable. Sister City Board. No quorum last night." or use this link. The status of the board meeting on Monday, August 8th:
  • Seven member board
  • Two vacancies on the board
  • Need 4 members to attend for a quorum
  • Three members showed up
Commissioner Ryan Maier is the City's liaison to the board. Leadership is lacking. Or possibly the irony is too much to bear having Maier as the liaison in the first place:
The next City Commission meeting is on August 16th and this needs to be on the agenda and addressed. Tourism is very important for this City and the business community would certainly benefit from the Sister City Board doing its work.

With season just a few months away there isn't any time to waste.

Al Tompkins from the Poynter Institute at Palm Beach State College on Monday, August 8th

I'll have more on this over the next days and weeks. Just a few comments for now. This event at the college was very well-attended which wasn't surprising in the least. Al Tompkins gave a free-wheeling talk about the media and biases. It was eye-opening.

For those of us in Lake Worth in the lead-up to another bond vote and how reporters spin the news this really stood out:

Just because it's accurate doesn't mean it's true.

Think about that for a bit.

There are four videos total and you can watch them all on my Lake Worth YouTube channel using this link. Near the top of the page is a red "Subscribe" button. One of the benefits subscribing is receiving a notice when new videos are available.

I registered for the event last week but when I showed up camera and tripod in hand was told I wasn't on the list. Thankfully everyone was gracious and welcomed me in to video the session.

This first video starts with some background and Mr. Tompkins' introduction begins at the 5:10 mark. He has a very impressive background. Tompkins begins speaking at the 6:30 mark. Things really get interesting at the 13:00 mark when he begins talking about 'Pro-Choice' and 'Pro-Life'.

Enjoy this first video:

UPDATE: Traffic Advisory. Press Release from the City of Lake Worth's Communications Specialist*

Traffic Advisory extended on 6th Avenue South through Monday, August 15th  

Traffic Advisory | 6th Avenue South
LOCATION: 6th Avenue South between South “E” Street and South “F” Street
DESCRIPTION: Installation of water and sewer mains
RESTRICTIONS: Eastbound and westbound lanes of traffic will be narrowed down to one lane.

Laura Tingo
Communications Specialist
City of Lake Worth
7 North Dixie Highway
Lake Worth, FL 33460
561-586-1631 

Located in central Palm Beach County, Lake Worth is a dynamic, multi-cultural city with an individualistic style. People are drawn to the city by its acceptance of different cultures and lifestyles, historic districts, hip downtown and colorful arts

[*"Hmmm. Why does Lake Worth need a Communications Specialist?" Use this link for an explanation.]

Free event today at 5:30 at Palm Beach Dramaworks, 201 Clematis Street in West Palm Beach

This event is being hosted by CUES at FAU and sponsored in partnership with the West Palm Beach DDA and the Palm Beach County Planning Congress:

Professor Peter Newman: The End of Automobile Dependence: Global and Local Trends Moving Away from Car-based Planning 

Peter Newman is the Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University. He has written 16 books and over 300 papers. His books include "The End of Automobile Dependence" (2015), "Green Urbanism in Asia" (2013) and "Sustainability and Cities: Overcoming Automobile Dependence" which was launched in the White House in 1999. Peter was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of Virginia Charlottesville and was on the IPCC for their 5th Assessment Report.

In 2016, Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull noted that Professor Newman was his “tutor on transportation policy.”

Instructions on how to watch the Lake Worth City Commission Budget Workshop tonight live streaming:

It's very easy. At 6:00 use this link and then click on "Video of Public Meetings". No video? Wait a few minutes and try again.

More about 'civility': "Weetha Peebull" and thoughts on Lake Worth's Post beat reporter: ". . .you have kids and need the job, right?"

Back in May of 2015 I was accused by The Obtuse Blogger (TOB) of running Palm Beach Post reporters "out of town". Quite succinctly proved that claim to be false and without merit

And if it were true anyone was trying to run the reporter "out of town" they're not doing a very good job. He's already outlasted Eliot Kleinberg (too busy in West Palm), Chris Persaud (he moved on after winning two prestigious journalism awards) and Lona O'Conner (retired soon after taking the Lake Worth beat) when it comes to time served. Who knows, he might even break the world record set by Willy Howard. Going back through Thompson's archives this appears to be his first article about Lake Worth. So May 20th, or thereabouts, was his first year anniversary on the LDub beat.

Mr. Thompson seems a pleasant fellow doing his job. Undoubtedly, he understood at the outset he was coming to work in a 'lively' town and was certain to draw the ire of some from time to time. He's certainly drawn my ire on occasion, as you would know if you're a regular reader of this blog.

However, I don't think the reporter ever imagined anyone would stoop so low as to make mention of his family (Note: I have no personal knowledge of his family situation or if he even has a family; it's none of my business). Following this article on July 24th of last year, 'Weetha Peebull', a frequent visitor to TOB's blog (and a few others) had some thoughts:
Weetha Peebull: ". . .you have kids and need the job, right?" Very charming, isn't it?
And so it goes. If you didn't know, Weetha doesn't attend Lake Worth City Commission meetings any more and hasn't for quite a long time. Interestingly, her non-attendance at City meetings coincided about the time the camera was installed in the Commission chambers. Another great decision by the newly re-elected majority on the City Commission and the city manager, Michael Bornstein.

Monday, August 8, 2016

From Facebook: Street flooding in Lake Worth last Saturday. And an anniversary coming up on August 26th!

Saturday, August 6th, 2016.
March 20th, 2016.
The anniversary! Coming up on August 26th.

Message from the Cottages of Lake Worth: Tours, County grants, and latest news on the hardcover book

"Dear Cottages of Lake Worth Supporters, The Cottages has had a great year and wants to share information with you.

     Last fall we updated the self-directed driving/walking tour map including new Featured Cottages. The response to this project has been continued support from the City, Cultural Council, the Lake Worth CRA, neighborhood associations and many individuals in the City as well as visitors.

     Speaking of tours, the first Inside the Cottages Tour in January 2016 was a tremendous success. All 350 tickets sold out in mid-December! The Cottages of Lake Worth is proud to announce the 2nd annual Inside the Cottages Tour on January 29, 2017 focusing on cottages in Bryant Park and South Palm Park. As many as 450 guests are expected to attend, so don't miss the opportunity to advertise in our tour brochure.

     The Cottages of Lake Worth received another grant of $5,000 from REAP (Resident Education to Action Program) through Palm Beach County. Competition for these funds is intense and this is the third year the Cottages have received the money, indicative of the County's faith in our mission.

     Living Large in Small Spaces: The Cottages of Lake Worth book will be published later in the year. Save $5 by pre-ordering (pre-sale price is $27.95). The initial printing batch will be 1,500–2,000 copies. It is a full color, hardcover book with dust jacket and totals 248 pages with many professionally-taken photographs. Order your book using this link. Delivery of the first books is expected in the fall.

     At this time we are planning future events ranging from painting cottages in a high profile way to pursuing speakers for future meetings. If you have any ideas for future events or wish to contact us use this link and please like us on Facebook.

     To recap, it has been just over two years of positive response from Lake Worth and from everyone who has participated in our programs. Thank you to all who have supported and shared in making these goals become reality!

Here are images of the dust cover for the hardcover book, front and back: 
Dust cover, front.
Sadly, Dean Sherwin passed away last March. He was truly engaged and contributed so much to this City.
"Inside this book. . ."

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Tri-Rail from the Ft. Lauderdale International Airport to Lake Worth and Uber ride home: 2½ hours, total cost = $12.50

The Dania Beach (Ft. Lauderdale Airport) Tri-Rail Station.
Those of you who are regular followers of this blog know I went to Michigan recently. When I booked the flight discovered it was about $100 cheaper for a round-trip fare through Ft. Lauderdale rather than through PBIA. It turned out an alternate airport near my destination (about 60 miles away) also yielded savings. The moral of the story is it pays to look at alternative airports when making your travel plans.

For the departure was dropped off by car. The risk taking Tri-Rail to Ft. Lauderdale was the plane leaving without me. If there was a mechanical or other incident that affected the schedule of the train I may be stuck.

Coming back to Florida last Friday the plane touched down at 4:45 p.m. By 5:11 gathered my one piece of checked luggage and was already on the free Tri-Rail shuttle that links the airport and the Dania Beach Tri-Rail station. The bus was there almost immediately upon exiting the terminal. By 5:35 I had my ticket to Lake Worth that cost all of $6.25.

The northbound train runs on "Track 2" which you reach by walking along the Griffin Road a short distance, crossing the tracks and waiting east of the station. An Amtrak train going southbound required I wait behind a pedestrian gated crossing for a short time. 

Over the public address system there was an automated announcement which kept repeating there was a mechanical failure on one of the trains headed southbound. After 30 minutes the northbound train arrived and got on the second car. You can see what the inside of the car looks like:
Both on the shuttle and the train the air conditioning was blasting. There is quite a contrast between waiting outside in the damp south Florida summer heat and the interior of either the shuttle and the train. The seats were comfortable enough and it wasn't too crowded considering it was near rush hour on a weekday. There is plenty of room for luggage; see racks in the above picture.
There is also room for bikes of which plenty take advantage. The picture above shows one bike taking space reserved for bike storage. You can secure them by a Velcro strap so that they don't fall down while the train is in motion. 

Once at the Lake Worth station I used my phone to hail a Uber driver to take me the last 4 or 5 miles home. That didn't take long. An Uber driver was dropping someone off just as I got off the train. Arrived home around 7:15 p.m. Total it cost $12.50, including the Uber ride, plus 2½ hours from touchdown in Ft. Lauderdale.

There is free WiFi on the train so you can catch up on your emails or anything else you may need to check on the Internet. And remember, it's $5 each weekend day for unlimited Tri-Rail travel. 

See if you can work Tri-Rail into your future transportation plans. Bon voyage!

Why can't Lantana, Greenacres, Palm Springs, Royal Palm Beach and The Great Walled City of Atlantis be special too?

Check out the Post's blog "Central Palm Beach County". Of the last 32 blog posts which city is highlighted 29 times (92%)? That's right. Lake Worth. Shouldn't this be called the "Lake Worth" or "LDub" blog?
A recent entry in the 'Central Palm Beach County' blog is about a press release issued by the City from the Water Utility.
But more importantly, what about all those citizens in the rest of Central Palm Beach County? Aren't they deserving of attention too? What about Greenacres? They're just as concerned about their community as Lake Worth is. Maybe one day soon the Post will have a blog just for them too.
The Post's "In Your Community" section features the same cities, over and over and over again, each and every week. Why can't cities like Greenacres be special too?
For everyone truly interested in the goings-on in Lake Worth here are some suggestions to get your information unfiltered and straight from the source:
The point is you don't need the Post to educate you about Lake Worth. The City's very own website does that quite well.

And FYI, The Lake Worth Herald online edition comes out on Thursday and you can pick up the print edition on Friday at the City's newsstand across the street from the downtown Starbucks.
The Herald is still just ¢50! The Post costs 3× that.
If you've followed the Post's coverage of Lake Worth you can see how there would be a certain level of concern about being featured each and every week. Remember this gem?
Recall false headlines about a "curfew" in Lake Worth? Following that my blog readers got a lesson on loaded language. Note that reporter Kevin Thompson never mentioned the word "curfew" at all in his articles. His editor(s) were responsible for purposefully misleading the public.
In conclusion, browse the City's website to learn more about this little 6 square mile area called Lake Worth. And while you're at it, subscribe to The Lake Worth Herald too. And if you're wondering why Lake Worth is so very, very special to the Post. . . a lot of other people are also wondering about that too.