Thursday, February 14, 2008

High Noon at the not-so O.K. Corral

The dust is just settling after yesterday's Commission meeting about the Commission taking over the duties of the Community Redevelopment Agency. I found some time today to do a Lunch Box show with Jim Stafford about what happened at the meeting. We listened to clips of the most poignant moments and commented as we went along. To listen to our chat, click here (it's at the top of the player's list).

Luckily, the Commission did not succumb to the temptation to assume the CRAs duties. Instead, they charted a measured approach that will entail a moratorium on the Pugh 6th Avenue South project until the CRA and the Commission have a workshop on the matter. They are also going to engage in priority setting with CRA. Many pointed out that the Commission failed in its duty to set the direction and generally acknowledged that communication had been poor between the two entities.

Then, we need to ask ourselves: Why all the drama?

Lack of communication comes to mind.

So, we go on. After all, tomorrow is another day...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Palm Tran's New Connections

The following was sent out via TropicMail today - the City's automated e-mail information service.
Palm Tran introduces "The Link" which serves areas where access to fixed route service is limited and provides transportation to neighborhood shopping, health centers and Tri-Rail!

For routing information call 561-649-9838 or 1-877-870-9849 (toll-free) or visit
However, none of the routes where this is being implemented are near Lake Worth. We really need to push PalmTran to make this available on Route 1 (Dixie Hwy.), their most utilized route - or the east/west routes that serve the city. Here is a map of the service area:

We need representatives on the PalmTran board to fight for Lake Worth interests!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Deep Thoughts - Plan 9 from Outer Space

This is probably the worst movie ever made and these are the "best" lines from that movie. If you managed to watch the entire flick, then give yourself a medal. I offer this here for a light few moments - but see if you recognize anyone in these clips that looks like a regular at City Commission meetings. You can offer your ideas by hitting the comments button below.


Truth Matters Show - Already Archived

Had a great time tonight, answered a lot of questions and covered a lot of territory - especially with the CRA goings-on. Click here to listen to the whole show. Hit the one at the top of the list in player (010).

Truth Matters Show Tonight - 8 to 9 p.m.

Join me and Greg Vannier as we dust off the microphone and talk about current topics. These may include what is happening with the CRA, status of Hometown Democracy and other topics you might find interesting. You can post questions on Lake Worth and look for the Truth Matters thread. The link is provided on the right side of this blog.

You can click here to listen to the show.

I also called into the Lunch Box Show today and chatted with Jim Stafford regarding CRAs and their role in redevelopment. You can click here to hear that show as Jim has already archived it (it's at the top of list on the player).

Hope you can take time to listen tonight!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Seminar Announced - Effective Planning in an Anti-Government Environment

Extension Service Offers Course Exploring Natural Resource Issues

Palm Beach County Extension and Palm Beach Community College (PBCC) are teaming up to provide an exciting non-credit continuing education course on South Florida natural resource issues. Environmental professionals new to Florida and all interested citizens who would like to learn about natural resource issues in a fun and discussion-oriented classroom are invited to attend. Each class will be devoted to a specific natural resource topic. During the 6-week course, participants will interact with guest speakers and participate in class discussions.

Here is the class schedule:

March 29: Introduction to South Florida

April 5: Loxahatchee River

April 12: Wildlife Habitat Fragmentation

April 19: Surface Water Quality

April 26: Water Use and Reclaimed Water Systems

May 3: The Rural Urban Fringe

What: Natural Resource Issues Facing South Florida, Part II

Where: Palm Beach Community College, Palm Beach Gardens Campus

When: Thursdays, 6:30 p.m – 8:30 p.m.

March 29 th through May 5, 2007

Registration Fee: $60 (course ID is ORO 0208; Reference #097940)

All course materials are included in the $60 registration fee. Register on the web at:, at any PBCC campus, or phone PBCC at 561-868-3700.

For more information contact Alyssa Dodd, Agricultural and Natural Resources Extension Educator, Palm Beach County Extension, 561-233-1725 or email her at

Reading about the 3 x 4 foot park...

Reminds me of the glowing prose found in many press releases issued by local governments. Being an urban planner for 25 years, I've even penned a few of them. Sometimes when I read the Neighborhood Post that comes out on Wednesday's, I get the same feeling. While satirical, the article does underline the hopes that are placed on worthwhile public improvement projects, but many times those good efforts turn out to not be enough, are off target or swamped by changes wielded by our socio-economic system. Other times these well-intentioned projects are successful and pull off the results that everyone is expecting. We will be seeing the benefits of the reinvestment and improvement in the 6th Avenue South project and, if everything goes as planned, a new 10th Avenue North corridor.

Let's also establish a public information officer in the City of Lake Worth. Maybe that's what is needed to get the good news out about what is happening here in our city.

What if urban revitalization was this easy?

3-By-4 Plot Of Green Space Rejuvenates Neighborhood

The Onion

3-By-4 Plot Of Green Space Rejuvenates Neighborhood

DETROIT—Since its installment last August, the towel-shaped plot of grass has turned what was once a run-down community into a thriving, picturesque oasis.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Green Residential Rehab - Part 1

These are a pair of nicely produced videos. Not all of these techniques and technologies apply to our South Florida climate, but the principles are generally the same.

Green Residential Rehab - Part 2

Beyond Walls: GreenThink in Lake Worth

Phase 1 of the EcoCentre, soon to be occupied by the Romano Group law firm, is an important step forward in the history of Lake Worth. Beyond being a world-class, cutting edge environmentally sensitive building, it most important represents the addition of another destination in our downtown. That destination will house workers whose incomes will be spent throughout our downtown area - providing support for retail merchants and restaurants. We also cannot discount the importance of clients coming and going from the building. We will be building positive impressions of our town with every visit.

But most significantly, it represents the first steps to a very bright green future in Lake Worth!

It is clear that this will be a working prototype of new LEED certified construction that will attract school age children and adults alike. They will come to study this building and learn the importance of environmentally friendly design. This will spawn other buildings that can take advantage of the lessons learned from this project and apply the technology/techniques in their projects.

The most important aspect of this building being located here is that it is symbolic of the GreenThink for which our own Lake Worth can be known. Already this is starting to manifest itself. I recently finished working on the grant application for the Hammon Park residential project that will provide workforce housing in our downtown area. During the public meetings discussing the changes necessary for the project to go forward, the Romano Group generously offered a program where the firm would provide down payment assistance to their employees if they were to purchase a home in Hammon Park. John Szerdi's firm, Living Designs, has also stepped up to the plate and offered a similar benefit to their employees.

This is the power of GreenThink - beyond the physical walls of a building.

Why is this so important? First of all, it is rare for the private sector to step up to the plate in this manner, but it's probably the beginning of a trend as new, quality housing physically near your place of employment is almost impossible to find. But it is becoming more and more important as the price of gas increases, threats of climate change loom and an increasing cost burden on the part of the household for reliable transportation is experienced by many households. Clearly, it will be more and more desirable to locate near where you work as commuting has been shown to be the major contributor to the large carbon footprint left by most middle class families.

We also must not forget of the coming transit service on the FEC (eastern) railroad tracks that will make commuting to other coastal downtowns easier and more accessible today. Tri-Rail is fine for longer distance commuting, but it is too far west to benefit the bulk of the population east of I-95.

Lake Worth is also a very bikeable and walkable community. We also have a "grid" street pattern that has been the rage of "new urbanism" planning doctrine. We are actually what all the new communities which call themselves "Tradition" want to be - without trying. And we can do so in an environmentally sound planning paradigm - encouraging in-fill development of all sorts within the borders of our community. Our new Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code will support this effort.

For this reason, I feel that the future is bright and green in Lake Worth. You just wouldn't know it by much of the negativity that surrounds public debate here. We are likely going to succeed in spite of ourselves. Imagine how much better and faster that could happen if we learned to get out of our own way!

They say if you love something, let it go. I say if you really love this City, let go of selfish ambitions and let Lake Worth be what it can and should be.

One of the ways we can do that is through GreenThink. It is the key to our future. More later.