Thursday, June 1, 2017

The City of Lake Worth is just part of the “Heart of Palm Beach County”. And explained: Why the press and news media are failing us.

From the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC):

“This 18-square-mile area contains a population of 62,790 people and includes all or a portion of seven cities, including Atlantis, Boynton Beach, Greenacres, Lake Worth, Lake Clarke Shores, Lantana, and Palm Springs. About 60 percent of the land area is unincorporated county, with the remaining 40 percent falling under the jurisdiction of these seven municipalities.”

Except for news reporters such as Julius Whigham at the Post and Charlie Keegan at NBC5/WPTV, very few understand much about “60 percent of the land area”:
How many of you in the media and press, elected officials, city staff et al., remember the TCRPC’s Economic Opportunities Workshop called the “Heart of Palm Beach County”?

Continue reading. If you don’t recall this workshop in June 2015 — organized by former County Mayor and Commissioner Shelley Vana just two years ago — many of you will be surprised to learn what ideas, comments, and solutions came from that workshop. If you want to just read it for yourself, use this link.

“Mayor Vana asked the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council to create a process, involving the municipalities and local business interests within the District, for developing a strategic plan that would outline a vision and specific actions for improving economic opportunities and conditions in the area.”

Why is the press and news media failing us? For example: “IN YOUR COMMUNITY”?
By focusing so much on the City of Lake Worth, The Palm Beach Post is missing the big picture: cities and towns like Lake Clarke Shores, Palm Springs, Greenacres and the “Lake Worth Corridor” are ALL dealing with the same problems.

But what city gets the most attention in the press and media? The little six-square-mile City of Lake Worth. What area in the “Heart of Palm Beach County” does the media and press misunderstand the most? It’s called the “Lake Worth Corridor” west of the City. How many news reports have you seen lately about incidents “in Lake Worth” that are not in our City?

There were many in attendance at this workshop, including Dolores Key, the Economic Development Manager for the City of Lake Worth and William Waters, the Director for Community Sustainability.

From Roundtable #1:

The City of Lake Worth needs to: “Have more community redevelopment; work with other cities to find grant initiatives; provide more housing availability; more business investment. Branding is important.

There is much more from this document produced by the TCRPC to study and absorb. But today I’ll leave you with a bullet list of items from that meeting two years ago, in no particular order, about seven cities in the “Heart of Palm Beach County” and that place called the “Lake Worth Corridor”:
  • Build a higher-end hotel and conference center.
  • Improve infrastructure within Lake Worth Park of Commerce.
  • Create a common theme for the area.
  • Build the C-51 lock project.
  • Redo John Prince Park based on the changing demographic of the area and potential opportunities for Intracoastal Waterway access.
  • Create an annexation incentive program.
  • Prepare a vacant lands inventory and market those areas.
  • Address drainage problem areas.
  • Create a new Strategic Plan for John Prince Park.
  • Address homeless camps at John Prince Park.
  • Initiate regularly scheduled meetings of the seven cities and PBC.
  • Make streets more walkable and transit-friendly.
  • Make the area feel like you are entering a special place or district. It is too fragmented now.
  • Create a land trust for purchasing and assembling land for economic development and housing.
  • Grow and cultivate local leadership within each of the neighborhoods.
  • Make sure all gaps in water and sewer service in the District are filled. No more septic tanks.
  • Create a greenways/blueways plan for the District.
  • Establish a unified, district-wide vision.
  • Improve and coordinate law enforcement and code enforcement activities.
  • Improve schools.
  • Striping and safety improvements for roads.
So. How have we done the last two years? What’s happened in the City of Greenacres the last two years? Lake Clarke Shores? Palm Springs? Or in the County’s John Prince Park?

Wouldn’t you like to see a feature story about this in the Post some day? And not just focus on what the City of Lake Worth has done. . . or not done.

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