Saturday, October 7, 2017

Blueway Trail: News blackout at The Palm Beach Post remains in place.

“This is one of the strongest economic engines that can
possibly be imagined.”

—Quote by Lake Clarke Shores Mayor Robert Shalhoub, Dec. 24th, 2015, in an article by
Palm Beach Post reporter Eliot Kleinberg.

Since this article by Kleinberg (see excerpts below) — published nearly two years ago — very little has been reported in the Post about the Blueway Trail project. In the past year almost nothing at all. The beat reporter for the City of Lake Worth has never even referenced the Blueway Trail. Not one single time. The beat reporter for West Palm Beach, Tony Doris, brought up this project briefly in a news report about the West Palm Beach “Special Golf Commission Meeting” last July vis-à-vis their golf course in the South End.

Just this year there have been public meetings about the Blueway Trail at the South Olive Community Center in West Palm Beach, public meetings at the South Florida Water Management District headquarters, public meetings at the Lake Worth City Commission and C-51 Advisory Committee about the Blueway Trail. . . yet still no news from The Palm Beach Post.

So, yes. The Post is making the point that newspapers are more and more irrelevant all the time. Why? Because citizen reporters and elected officials, city staff, the PBC League of Cities, the County and many others are doing the job the Post should be doing, but much better.

For nearly two years now I’ve gone to meeting after meeting taking video, pictures, and voluminous notes about the Blueway Trail project. Why? Because I think it’s very important information for the public to know. And along the way I’ve had a lot of supporters. I want to say “Thank You” to everyone who has offered encouragement and kind words. The list would be too long to mention here; you know who you are.

I am not a reporter. Nor have I been trained to be a journalist. But here in Central Palm Beach County where there’s a virtual newspaper monopoly by The Palm Beach Post, it’s great to see other people, organizations, city and County officials, reporters such as Alanna Quillen at NBC5/WPTV, and small town newspapers like The Lake Worth Herald step up and fill the void.

So without further ado. . .

Here’s the latest news about the Blueway Trail:

  • To read the text of “Resolution 50-2017 supporting the C-51 boat lift” at the Lake Worth City Commission on October 3rd use this link.
  • To learn why Worth commissioners Andy Amoroso and Omari Hardy “saved the day” getting Resolution 50-2017 passed click on this link. And also very interesting, what happened to the C-51 Advisory Committee?
  • Use this link to find out why reporter Alanna Quillen’s news report from last August is fundamental to understanding what happened last Tuesday at the City Commission.

Now the news by Eliot Kleinberg datelined Dec. 24th, 2015.

Excerpts are below from the news report titled,
“Lift at spillway would allow boat traffic
from inland lakes to ocean”:

LAKE WORTH — Palm Beach County’s “chain of lakes” is a boater’s paradise already used by tens of thousands of boaters, kayakers, canoers and paddleboarders.
     It’s a 30-mile stretch of connected freshwater lakes comprised of West Palm Beach’s Pine Lake at the north end, Lake Clarke in Lake Clarke Shores, Lake Osborne and Lake Eden in [suburban] Lake Worth, and Delray Beach’s Lake Ida at the south end.
     But there’s one problem. You can’t get from them to the Intracoastal Waterway.
     A potential solution’s been around for years, but only on paper. But it’s starting to kick up a wake again. [emphasis added; use this link to the cited article by former Post reporter Willie Howard in 2013 referenced in Kleinberg’s 2015 news report.]

Back to Kleinberg’s 2015 article, another excerpt:

     West Palm Beach also has more than passing interest in a boat lift.
     The city owns seven acres of vacant land bordering the canal between Dixie Highway and the city golf course to the west. The city paid $2.9 million for the property at 8111 S. Dixie Highway — once the site of an International House of Pancakes restaurant [since demolished] — in hopes of selling it to a buyer who would redevelop it into a commercial anchor for the city’s south end.
     A boat lift just across Dixie Highway would mean boats could go from the municipal golf course to the Lake Worth Lagoon and could help with the development of the vacant property.

another excerpt. . .

     The lift would not be the first in use in Palm Beach County. Juno Isles has been using one since the 1970s to move boats up to 26 feet from the community’s freshwater lake and canals into the Intracoastal, giving waterfront homeowners with boats access to waterfront restaurants, marinas and the ocean.
     State Rep. Dave Kerner and State Sen. Jeff Clemens, 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.

lastly. . .

[I]t could take as long as five years before the lift is in and operating. But, he [Kerner] said, “We’ve been moving quickly. We’ve got a great coalition.”

Please take note: If it “could take as long as five years before the lift is in and operating” per now-County Commissioner Dave Kerner in 2015, then that would correspond with what we’ve known for some time now, that the Blueway Trail project would begin between 3–5 years from now, 2020–2022. So, no, this project is not being “rushed” as some critics falsely like to claim.

Stay tuned, as they say, for more information about the Blueway Trail. Just don’t expect any news about this project in The Palm Beach Post any time soon.