Tuesday, January 8, 2019

News from Jennifer Sorentrue. “County to golf tour operators: This is the place to play your game”.

“This is the place to play your game” was published three years ago.

In citing this news by Jennifer Sorentrue many times on this blog is how so very far this City is behind in the game: hotel stays. West Palm Beach does not have a beach but they are so far ahead of Lake Worth they can’t even see us any more. They are breaking records for hotel stays every year.

But now and then we get tour groups from the Palm Beach Convention Center. And branding this City as “Lake Worth Beach” will most certainly help.

The good news, and there is plenty of good news as well, this City is making big strides when it comes to housing for Millennials and young professionals. A project called “The MID” at 1601 N. Dixie Hwy. will be breaking ground in the near future. And for those of you interested the City and the CRA were recently honored at the annual Florida Redevelopment Association Awards.

Last September when that convention tour group from the American Planning Assoc. came to visit, the City of Lake Worth rolled out the welcome mat. Mayor Pam Triolo greeted them and so did other officials as well. It was a wonderful tour and everyone enjoyed it. But at the end of the day the question was, “Why don’t you have a hotel in the downtown?”

Back in 2015 when referencing the article by Sorentrue the historic Gulfstream Hotel was still shuttered and the City was still refunding golfers when the nearby municipal golf course flooded out. But if they came and walked around they could get lucky and find a snook in one of the holes, the “Catch Of The Day”.

Now three years later not much has changed. Still many are looking for solutions. And still many are saying “The Arts” is the solution. But are “The Arts” the cart before the hotel. More about that later.

The news below from December 2015 is amazingly prescient today. There are two excerpts from that news later in this blog post.

Jennifer Sorentrue is a former reporter at The Palm Beach Post. If you would like to follow Sorentrue on Twitter use this link.

We were all very fortunate to have her reporting on tourism and tourism marketing here in Palm Beach County and she was often cited on this blog. I’ve never met her but it would be a pleasure to some day.

Sorentrue reported often about Discover The Palm Beaches and the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County. And I think it was Sorentrue who saved them. Back in 2015–2016 there was a push to make “The Arts” a big part of the County’s ¢1 sales tax increase. That referendum passed by a wide margin. But what many in the public objected to was infrastructure money going to cultural groups. When that push ended the debate settled down and all proceeded smoothly on to election day.

And several times on this blog have wondered about the Cultural Council, is “The Arts” still the answer for this City of Lake Worth?

Or do we need hotels in the Downtown to make “The Arts” work. We can mural up every wall in the Downtown. But if people come, visit, walk around and then leave what is the point?

To Focus Lake Worth.

We’ll see in time how successful the recent “Focus Lake Worth” events have been drawing attention to this municipality and making the case why a hotel or hotels would be successful. Mayor Triolo, City Manager Michael Bornstein, City staff, the Community Redevelopment Authority, the Cultural Council et al. have emphasized that this City is where “The Arts” are made and making this City the destination for the arts community nationwide.

On that topic here is Mayor Triolo
explaining what the goals are:

Of note, back in late 2015 into early 2016 the City of Lake Worth made national news on CNBC, CNN, MSNBC and other news outlets. An article by writer Pari Chang created quite the “buzz” so to speak. She wrote a piece titled, “Where the Makers Are: Lake Worth, Florida”:

This small South Florida city is an under-the-radar, up-and-coming hotbed of makers. Miami obviously has a huge arts scene. Locals know that Ft. Lauderdale does, too. But Lake Worth, in Palm Beach County, is the one to watch, a city on the verge.

How many artists came to Lake Worth? How many ended up in some other place like Miami or even West Palm? Delray Beach? FATCity in Ft. Lauderdale?

As to the question: Will “Art, Music and Design” be what it takes to bring hotels to Downtown Lake Worth?

Or is it time to pivot to the traditional trades?

Historically, this City was the home of tradesmen and tradeswoman. Architects, doctors, home painters, electricians and plumbers and every other trade imaginable. One such person said to me he had never been to the Cultural Council. But if that location was a hardware store he and everybody else he knows would be there every single day.

And if “The Arts” is indeed the answer we would most probably have a hotel in the Downtown under construction right now or in the planning stages. As it is now all those visitors coming to town are staying in West Palm (sans a Beach) and in the Town of Palm Beach too.

And in the latest effort to make this City of Lake Worth an arts and artist destination, an article in the Post was not all too enthusiastic and alluded to, Our ‘city says’ vs. ‘city hopes’.

To be clear: The Cultural Council has been a great neighbor and contributor to this City. The new president and CEO is Mr. David Lawrence. He certainly has the vision and experience to make things happen. But the Cultural Council represents all of Palm Beach County, it’s thirty-nine municipalities and unincorporated areas too like national and County parks. Opening a hotel in the Downtown is a joint effort by all the stakeholders.

Now moving on. . .

What follows are two very informative excerpts from Sorentrue’s news three years ago. Now imagine our City had a renovated historic hotel. And the tourist dollars to envision a new, modern municipal golf course:

More than 30 golf tour operators from around the world are in Beach County this week as part of a trip organized by Palm Beach County tourism leaders in an effort to bring more golf-loving tourists here.

Discover The Palm Beaches, the county’s official tourism marketing corporation, planned the first ever “American Cup” tour in hopes of showcasing the county as a vacation destination for golfers — both domestic and international.

“One of our key attributes in The Palm Beaches is that we’re Florida’s golf capital with more than 160 golf courses,” said Jorge Pesquera, Discover’s president and CEO. “Our American Cup event hosts influential golf tour operator decision-makers, representing some of our main international markets such as Latin America, Germany and the United Kingdom.”

and. . .

“We market The Palm Beaches as ‘the best way to experience Florida,’ and this event spotlights golf as one of those best-in-class experiences that few other destinations can offer catering to this high value niche clientele,” Pesquera said. “It’s said that ‘business is made on the golf course,’ so we hope to entice these tour operators to help us sell the destination to their targeted audiences.”

Whilst on that topic. . .

On behalf of Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein and Mayor Pam Triolo I invite everyone to come and check out the City’s municipal golf course. But pay close attention to weather reports. Especially rain projections.

In the image below, “City Manager Michael Bornstein and Mayor Pam Triolo pose with a framed article from Southern Golf Central Magazine. The Lake Worth Golf Course is the second oldest municipal course in the State of Florida and boasts of a fellow named Babe Ruth who frequented the course years ago.”

Lake Worth’s golf course was featured in Florida Golf Central Magazine.

Did you know Babe Ruth golfed here in
the City of Lake Worth? He did.

Click on “A Coastal Paradise”:

Here is the website for the City of Lake Worth’s municipal golf course. From the website:

Located at One 7th Avenue North Lake Worth Golf Course and Pro Shop has been in business since 1927. The golf course is comprised of a unique old Florida design with a scenic 6,100 yard, par-70 course located along 1.2 miles of the Intracoastal Waterway. 

  • 18-hole, par 70
  • Course Flyover
  • Pro Shop
  • The Beach Club restaurant
  • Golf Lessons
  • Rental Clubs
  • Annual Memberships for residents & non-residents (memberships start on date of purchase and end one year from that date)
  • Seasonal Membership
  • Mens and Ladies Golf Associations

Tee Time Reservations contact the ProShop: 561-582-9713

Here is a video of the course Hole #1.

To follow the City of Lake Worth’s
Municipal Golf Course on Twitter use this link.