Saturday, June 9, 2007

Some comparisons...

Here's something interesting, I think. Check out this link to the City of Fort Pierce website. I had a project up there last year and got to know the community. It has its share of political intrigue recently. But I thought you would be impressed by the 360 degree automated panorama of their major projects. Click around on the page and check out the cool way the "searchlight" shows you where the camera is pointing in plan view. (You will have to use Internet Explorer as the functions don't seem to work in Firefox or other browsers)

Also of note is that they are initiating a new trolley service and the vehicles look exactly like the ones we had. The same ones that Mike Frey said should be painted yellow since they were such lemons.

There is also a letter from their City Manager, Dennis Beach (ironic). It is written to correct what he and the City considered misinformation as reported in the local media regarding the restoration of the Sunrise Theater and the involvement of their Redevelopment Agency, grant monies and a local foundation. It is also gives an assessment of what other community assets represent in investment of public tax dollars and the revenue generated by them.

So, what can we learn from this. One thing is I find it all too easy to do a search and replace - Sunrise Theater for (our) beach. The following is a list of what I think are some salient comparisons that are highlighted in the letter:
  • That we can learn from other municipalities. Fort Pierce is about the size of the City of Lake Worth, is a coastal municipality and has its own electric utility.
  • That it is an important function of City government to "get the word" out and defend itself in the media. There is interpretation and then there are facts. I haven't had the opportunity to read the article that spawned the letter but I would like to see a letter from time to time sent out by the City of Lake Worth in response to some articles in the press.
  • That there are public and cultural assets within communities that need care and attention over time in order for them to continue to be contributing community assets. There are various means that cities use in order to make that re-investment and the sources outlined in the letter make up a representative summary of some of the forms they can take.
  • That there are other communities that have to do battle in order to make those re-investments in community assets.
Another set of comparisons come from Decatur, Georgia - click here for their website. I have some friends that are planning on moving there in the near future and they've done some research. It turns out that Decatur is one of those first ring suburbs immediately east of the City of Atlanta. According to Wikipedia, it has the largest proportion of gay couples within the State of Georgia of any community.

First of all, their website is First Class. I encourage you to travel around their site and see what interests you. A couple neat things that I found is that they have a Flexcar system. That's where a company provides fuel-efficient vehicles around town in certain parking spaces and that's where you pick up the car you want to use for an hour or a day, whatever! Then you just return back to the same parking spot that you found it. Kind of cool and a nice way to have flexibility in transportation choices and compliments a mass transit system well. They say that for each Flexcar they put into service takes 15 privately owned vehicles off of the roadways. Hmmmm. They also have special parking spaces within the downtown that are only for scooters - a traditionally sized space can accommodate 8 scooters. I see some scooters down here (besides my dogs - HA!), but not too many. They must be more prevalent there.

You know, it comes to mind that a "community bike" program might be a good idea for our City to implement. This is where we get impounded or unclaimed bikes, paint them white and saftey orange (so they're easily identifiable as part of the program). These could be left around town in certain places - the downtown would have a concentration, along with shopping centers, the beach etc. People could use them and return them to where they found them - and this would be free for the user. Think about that!

That's all. Enjoy!

Theodore Roosevelt

"Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready."

San Francisco, CA, May 13, 1903

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how
the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

"Citizenship in a Republic,"
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."

"Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star", 149
May 7, 1918

"We of an older generation can get along with what we have, though with growing hardship; but in your full manhood and womanhood you will want what nature once so bountifully supplied and man so thoughtlessly destroyed; and because of that want you will reproach us, not for what we have used, but for what we have wasted...So any nation which in its youth lives only for the day, reaps without sowing, and consumes without husbanding, must expect the penalty of the prodigal whose labor could with difficulty find him the bare means of life."

"Arbor Day - A Message to the School-Children of the United States" April 15, 1907

"There are two things that I want you to make up your minds to: first, that you are going to have a good time as long as you live - I have no use for the sour-faced man - and next, that you are going to do something worthwhile, that you are going to work hard and do the things you set out to do."

Talk to schoolchildren in Oyster Bay, Christmastime 1898

Thursday, June 7, 2007

We have us a Traffic Jam! Tenemos un Lio de Transito!

And not the kind that we see on I-95. This one is in my mind. There is getting to be a real log jam of things to write about. I should have some time over the weekend to address these. Here is a quick list of some up-coming posts. I am doing this partly so that I can keep them straight in my mind and so none slip through the cracks, but mostly to inform you of up-coming attractions
  • Retrospective on the Gulfstream Hotel approval process. If you listened to my Truth Matters show on Lake Worth Talk last Sunday you learned about how the project evolved over time and I provided examples of what the project looked like in January of 2006. If you want to check out the graphics and renderings, you can go to my TalkBlog on Lake Worth You can access that by clicking on the link on the right side of this page.
  • Pictures, story and commentary from the Master Pump Station ribbon cutting ceremony and facility tour. I know, not quite CNN material, but interesting as it applies to our relationships with other municipalities and that pesky Mock Roo$, our engineering firm that's been with us since the Eisenhower administration. I do have a link to their website that is pretty exhaustive in describing the facility. Wonder who paid for that?
  • Tuesday night's City Commission meeting and discussion of the Beach and Casino land use designation and zoning district. Commissioner Jennings was kind enough to e-mail me her PowerPoint presentation and other background materials that she used during her discussion. I'll include some of the graphics from that presentation. So if you were unable to attend the meeting, you'll be able to get the gist of where she was coming from. The good news - they all passed - but where was our attorney Alan Ciklin and where was anyone from Greater Bay?
  • Tuesday night's City Commission and Commissioner Golden's item regarding reconsideration of the Compass lease. I'll talk about public comments and we'll reacquaint ourselves with the Golden Rule.
  • Grand opening of the Lake Worth Promenade. I stayed long enough at the event to grab some promotional materials, see some folks and talk with the leasing agent, Ryan Dinsdale, until I was called away on a business matter. I'd like to go back there tomorrow with my camera and get a walk through with him. This is a pioneer Class A office building in Lake Worth and has great significance to our position in the Palm Beach County real estate marketplace.
  • News about a national conference coming to South Florida in late October and early November which will feature a day trip to our fair city. We are identified in their conference literature as the "City of Lake Worth... a progressive community in central Palm Beach County". You won't want to miss this one. And, no, I am not telling you what it's about here - you'll have to wait for the entire post.
  • Status of our Master Plan process. The Planning and Zoning Board met last night and went over a draft set of revisions to our Comprehensive Plan. This will be work-shopped on June 27. We will also start getting our draft land development regulations (zoning code) and I'll have some information on that too.
  • And, finally, we missed the first anniversary of this blog - so I will talk about some of the highlights and the lowlights of this past year.
So, you can see there is no lack of topics to cover. I will talk about a lot of these topics on my Truth Matters show Sunday from 8 to 9 p.m. Lake Worth

Also, the two previous posts were quickies - one from the Palm Beach County ERM website regarding the sediment management project for the C-51 canal and one from the Palm Beach County government website regarding the courthouse restoration project on-going in West Palm Beach. Hope you find them informative.

Now, it's off to karaoke at the Mad Hatter! See you later.

C- 51 Sediment Management Project - Lake Worth Lagoon

Storm water collected in the C-51 Canal (Canal) discharges through the S-155 control structure to the Lake Worth Lagoon (Lagoon). Pollutants contained in the storm water are believed to be a major contributing source of the organically enriched muck located in both the Canal and the Lagoon. The muck creates an unnatural, anaerobic substrate devoid of invertebrate life and marine grasses and contributes to both the loss of fisheries habitat and the decline of commercial and recreational fish species found within the Lagoon. The muck also reduces water flow within the Canal, restricting its capacity to control flooding.

A three-way interlocal agreement for a sediment management project will result in cleaner water entering the Lake Worth Lagoon and in turn, enhanced habitat for fish, wildlife and aquatic vegetation. County Commissioners Warren Newell and Jeff Koons spearheaded the effort to set up the dredging operation along the Canal. The initial aim is to remove approximately 125,000 cubic yards of organic sediment that have built up on the Canal bed. Then, a deep hole will be dug to act as a trap for silt and other contaminants that otherwise would flow into the Lagoon.

Palm Beach County is putting up $2 million to set up the operation and will manage it for two years. It will then be turned over to the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), which owns the C-51 Canal, also known as the West Palm Beach Canal. The SFWMD will reimburse the County up to $1 million toward the cost of the project. The third party to the agreement, the City of West Palm Beach, is donating the use of land it owns along the Canal on the south side of the City’s municipal golf course for use as a staging area.
“This is cutting-edge technology that will significantly improve the water quality,” said Commissioner Newell. “We’ve been doing something like this in Lake Osborne for the past two years with great results. The grasses are coming back, the sandy bottom is there, and the fish are being re-established.”

The agreement includes a $1.7-million contract with the firm J.F. Brennan Co., Inc. to hydraulically dredge and dewater the muck taken from the Canal. The work is scheduled to begin in April 2006 and continue through 2008.

Original Cornerstones and Reconstructed Eagle Installed


Palm Beach County Commissioners gather at the Court House for a “tap in” ceremony, marking the installation of the two original cornerstones on the building’s northwest side. Pictured above (l to r): Commissioners Jeff Koons, Warren H. Newell, Burt Aaronson, Addie L. Greene, Karen T. Marcus and Jess R. Santamaria.

Marble Cornerstones Mounted on Northwest Corner

On the northwest corner of the Court House there are two marble cornerstones affixed with wires and pins. Each square weighs approximately 400 pounds and measures three feet long by three feet wide and about three inches thick. When the original courthouse building was enclosed by a wraparound facade in 1970, the cornerstones were removed and remounted in the brick stairwell leading to the main lobby. When the wraparound was removed, the cornerstones were saved, and on May 15, 2007 finally installed back in the same exact location they occupied on the original building.

Northstone of Historic Court House
The cornerstone facing north is engraved with the names of the 1915 Board of County Commissioners as well as the contractor and architect of the original courthouse.
Flagler Stone
The square facing west recognizes Henry M. Flagler who donated the land.
Court House Hoist
Prior to the “tap in” ceremony, four workers did the real work
using a crane to hoist the cornerstones into place.

Reconstructed Eagle Perches Atop Main Entrance

Above the west entrance of the Court House sits an eagle crest carved from Indiana limestone. The five-month process of constructing the eagle was challenging as the original carving was lost during construction of the 1970 wraparound facade. Detailed drawings were created based on an archival photograph of the Court House from the 1940s and images of similar eagles from the same time period in North America.

A small clay maquette was made and then a full-sized clay model. A rubber mold was fabricated to create a negative for the plaster mold. Then it took three months for three stone carving experts to recreate the eagle in limestone with a tedious 800-year-old technique used by Italian sculptors such as Michelangelo and Bernini.

Traditional Cut Stone, Ltd., of Ontario, Canada used Indiana limestone to carve the eagle and all the new stone for the restored courthouse. Delivery to the site required 36 tractor-trailer loads of material. The new limestone is from the same quarry that provided the limestone for the original construction. This same limestone was also used to build the Empire State Building. Other projects by the Ontario company include stone carving for the exterior of Graff Diamonds on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach and restoration carving for the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

Eagle Clay Model
This full-sized clay model was used to create the limestone carving.

Eagle Close-up

The 11-foot-wide, 6-foot-tall and 2-foot-thick carving weighing six tons depicts an eagle with a wreath wrapped around its body and ribbon beneath its claws.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Hey everyone...

I am backing up with topics for up-coming posts. Just need to find time to do them. FYI - the City Commission adopted the land use and zoning changes for the beach last night. I am waiting on itemized (minor) changes to the zoning district. Also, I will have pictures and a write up on the Master Pump Station ribbon cutting - in the meantime check out this link. It is a site prepared by Mock Roos regarding the facility. And today I'll head on down to the ribbon cutting for the Promenade and will have pictures from that.

So, stand-by, more stuff on the way.