Monday, September 17, 2018

Florida chapter of American Planning Associaton (APA) and The Cottages of Lake Worth mobile workshop.

Below is a collection of photographs from the tour held last Wednesday in the City of Lake Worth from the greeting by Mayor Pam Triolo at 501 Lake Ave. (City’s Recreation Division), a short presentation about the historic Cottages of Lake Worth, then some time at the City Hall Annex and the Lake Worth Historical Museum upstairs, followed by a walk west to the renovated structure now called the Book Cellar bookstore and then south to tour some of the original cottages built on 25- and 50-foot wide lots prior to WWII laid out in a traditional grid pattern.

The annual conference of Florida’s APA was held last Tuesday–Friday at the Palm Beach County Convention Center and during this conference were several “Mobile Tours”. The Cottages of Lake Worth tour was one and there were several others including a tour of art and the murals in Downtown Lake Worth by William Waters, AICP, the Dir. of Community Sustainability in the City.

The Cottages tour was originally to be about 2½ miles, a three-hour slow walking tour but the day prior, due to the extreme heat and humidity, made the decision to shorten the tour. Two cottages on the original tour were excluded but the owners were gracious and understood why. The heat was indeed brutal last Wednesday afternoon from winds out of the south.

Tour attendees were planning professionals statewide including, e.g., the cities of Lynn Haven, Lakeland, Vero Beach, Delray Beach, Miami Beach, Royal Palm Beach, the Village of Key Biscayne, a private consultant, and a land use firm from Indian River County.

“Living Large in Small Spaces”

To learn more about APA Florida click on this link.

The City liaison for the Cottages of Lake Worth tour was Lauren Bennett from the Recreation Dept. and the Florida APA did the rest: providing the transportation and logistics, including items like the name tags.

The tour leader, Yours Truly:

Now to the photographs of the tour. . .

Tour began at the Palm Beach County Convention Center. FYI: the exhibit hall is 100,000 sq/ft with approximately 30′ ceilings.

Signs directing convention attendees where to go:

Leaving the Convention Center went to the Robert A. Harris (aka, Lake Worth) bridge and gave a brief history and introduction to City history.

Use this link to watch a video of historic
“Lake Worth Florida” post cards.

Tour attendees learned about all the public land on the water (municipal golf course and Bryant Park on the Intracoastal), and the public Beach property along the Atlantic Ocean. They also learned that West Palm Beach DOES NOT have a beach.

A Tweet from the tour. . .

Mayor Pam Triolo welcomes the APA tour to Downtown Lake Worth (click on all images to enlarge):

The view inside 501 Lake Ave. across from the Cultural Plaza, the City Hall Annex building and Historical Museum.

The City graciously reserved 501 Lake Ave. for the tour and was welcomed by Mayor Triolo. The mayor talked about her time in office (first elected in 2011 and re-elected three times) how the City has changed and her focus on improving the basic infrastructure that had been neglected for so long. She talked about the Neighborhood Road Bond and the resulting street improvements and attendees asked questions such as how those improvements were progressing. I told them they would see much of that activity on our walk through the area south of the Downtown.

Another view inside the City’s Recreation Dept.:

Mayor Triolo (left) addressing the APA tour.

Then a short presentation followed about the history and architecture of The Cottages of Lake Worth.

And is it true, that “Lake Worth is the next Delray Beach?” No. That can never happen; click on this link to learn why.

Across the street from the Recreation Dept.,
a view of the Cultural Plaza.

Reminded the tour this City of Lake Worth was nearing 40,000 in municipal population and is a little part of a metropolitan area of 6 million plus. This City stands out vastly different than other coastal downtown areas in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

After the mayor’s talk I showed them a brief PowerPoint presentation concentrating on the area south of the Downtown with the most 25′ wide residential lots. Also reviewed the City’s historic preservation program, how long it has been in place and what was coming in the future. Erin Fitzhugh, a former Lake Worth Historic Resource Preservation Board (HRPB) member, joined the group at the beginning and was helpful filling in the blanks. Resident Tammy Pansa also joined the tour after we arrived at 501 Lake Avenue.

A postcard. . .

Last May at the Lake Worth Historic Preservation Awards Ceremony Janice Snearer, Taylor Jones, Dean Sherwin, Roger Hendrix, Teresa Miller and the many others who contributed to promoting The Cottages of Lake Worth were honored.

A group photo:

At the Cultural Plaza the tour stopped for a photo in front of the mural on the west wall of the City Hall Annex. Then it was on to the City’s Historical Museum on the 2nd floor.

Inside the City’s Historical Museum:

To learn more about this museum which just reopened after exhibits and displays were renovated and upgraded click on this link. Then it was on to something very exciting, The Book Cellar. . .

Everyone marveled at the Martin Luther King, Jr. mural on the back of the Palm Beach County Cultural Council structure. We then walked further west on Lake Ave. talking about City planning issues and stopped in The Book Cellar for some cooling down and refreshments.

FYI: Have you read journalist Ron Hayes’ account
of the “Resurgence of the Local Bookstore
and The Book Cellar in our Downtown?

From The Book Cellar we toured the neighborhoods south of Downtown examining cottages that appear in the Cottages of Lake Worth book (all tour participants received the paperback book as part of their registration).

Despite the heat of the afternoon our guests were very interested in The Cottages, taking pictures of homes and streetscapes. They were shown a renovated structure on 2nd Ave. South and saw examples of recent infill development, construction and renovations and also signs of someone going through the process to build a new residence on a 25′ lot on South L St.

A view of the walking tour:

Overheard people telling others they liked our City “vibe”. One guest from Miami said he is getting tired of living there and would seriously consider a three bedroom cottage in the City of Lake Worth.

Hope you enjoyed this blog post about the Florida
APA tour of the City of Lake Worth!

During this tour I made certain to remind everyone they were only seeing a small part of one of City’s six Historic Districts. Each district and each cottage has a character, style and size and all are uniquely different than cookie-cutter areas further west outside the City.

And in conclusion, a short video: