Saturday, March 13, 2010


Reminder: This Tuesday's City Commission meeting (3/16) is cancelled.

Worth the Wait - LOL

Sound familiar?

South Florida home prices won’t return to 2005 levels until 2030, study says

Click title for link to PB Post source article

Friday, March 12, 2010

RAINED OUT | TRNA Cleanup Event

Tomorrow's Tropical Ridge alley cleanup initiative is temporarily cancelled. The decision to schedule this event for a later date is due to the recent weather conditions.  The rain has flooded the alley ways on the 500 and 600 blocks, two of the three targeted cleanup areas.  The trash and debris in all three alleys are waterlogged, making it heavier and messier to handle than usual. Because of this change in plan, the resident awareness portion of this initiative, planned for this evening at 5:30pm, will also be temporarily cancelled.
You will be notified of the rescheduled dates and times for all activities regarding the alley cleanup and after-party as soon as this information has been determined.
A large turnout of volunteers was expected for tomorrow’s event. For those of you who responded, thank you, and please keep up the enthusiasm. We’ll be anticipating an even larger response after rescheduling!
Tropical Ridge Cleanup Committee
Javier del Sol, Lynne Purvis, Robert Elliott, Sue Clarkson and Sylvia Williams

Click here for Memories of Palm Beach County, 1943-1954 By Bill McGoun

Fascinating remembrances of mid-20th Century Lake Worth and surrounding area.  The first two parts of the series are complete and more are coming.  Mr. McGoun is a former member of the Palm Beach Post editorial board, now retired in North Carolina.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Last Monday's Tour of Downtown West Palm Beach and Waterfront...

Friends of mine came for a brief visit on Monday. Two came from their home on the west coast of Florida and two came from Michigan.  The two from up north had never been in the Palm Beach area, so it was a chance to wander around, by car and on foot.  It was an opportunity for me to reacquaint myself with town of Palm Beach places and history.  When I worked regularly on the island and at one of the great historic properties there, I usually found myself in the role of tour guide/historian.  I always am amazed how, even if you have been concentrating on other people, places and things for a while, the knowledge remains.  I think my guests were surprised with the amount of information I knew about the area.

After the Palm Beach tour, we scooted over to West Palm Beach and checked out the waterfront area that has recently been completed.  This was my first visit there.  As most of you know, this is the area that was designed by Michael Singer and Associates.  They are the firm that gave us the "pretty picture" of Lake Worth beach property for a fee.  My memory of the general area comes from the time that I worked for the City of West Palm Beach.  I would leave city hall for lunch downtown somewhere - there were only a few choices back then in the early 90s.  I'd then head out to the waterfront which then was a concrete seawall, concrete sidewalk, small strip of grass and a series of Royal Palm trees.  The trunks of the Royal Palm trees looked like concrete pillars too.  Every 50 feet or so there was a bench that you could sit and contemplate the world while looking over the Lake Worth Lagoon and Palm Beach on the other shore.  I was usually the only one there.

That's all different now.  There are three finger docks that allow for day stays by passing boats.  More land area was gained east of the former bulkhead location and that is now more lushly landscaped, it only needs a little more time to grow in.  As you walk west toward the former location of the library, a smallish "pavilion" building was built to house different exhibits and events.  The building is convertible in that three sides of it can be opened up to the outside.  Bathrooms are provided within as well.  For me, it recalled having the ability to sit in the former air conditioned library and look at the water while catching up on the latest magazines and such.  Removal of the library building at the end of Clematis was on the to-do list of almost every West Palm Beach elected official since the building was built in 1962.  The view of the water from Clematis Street changes the character of the area completely and provides a nice open area for performances or other group events.  Click here for a review of the area's features from the city of West Palm Beach website.

I had also heard that Roxy's, a local institution in the restaurant scene, added a rooftop bar/restaurant on top of the their building.  It's two stories with the third floor being "Sky 309."  We walked there from fountain area and had a hard time telling where it was since the signs were being replaced.  There was a person outside that was acting as a "human sign" and told us that the upstairs was open.  If you happen to be on Clematis at night, check it out.  It's a large area that has a "night club" feel to it.  They also have a full menu delivered by a dumb waiter from the downstairs kitchen.  We were actually there the first time they were serving food and they were still training staff - slow service, but I think the newness was the reason for that.  Click here for a link to SKY 309's website.

All in all, it was a reminder to me that we live in a competitive environment with other cities in our region.  In order to remain competitive, we need to attract investment to sustain and contribute to what will be a better Lake Worth.  I just don't see the awareness of this fact from those on the city commission or the administration.

Mayor's Clean-up Day - Wednesday, April 7 - 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Click here for link to city website for registration form.  I am wondering how many people will participate in this effort, given that it is on a Wednesday.  I assume that this was a way to avoid overtime pay for regular city staff that may assist in the effort.  According to the description, it is a "walking event."  The map above shows the large area for the clean outlined in the dashed green line.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Neighborhood Stabilization Program - 2 - Public Workshop

This is for information on how to access the $23 million grant received by the CRA from the federal government.

Tropical Ridge Neighborhood Association - Cleanup Event | 3/13/10

This Saturday, March 13th, the TRNA Cleanup Committee is holding an alley cleanup event from 9-11am. Afterward there will be a party held for all participants where food and drink will be available. Everybody should meet at the alley entrance on 7th Avenue North between D and E Streets. In the event of rain, Saturday's cleanup will be rescheduled. The sections of the neighborhood we’ll be focusing on this weekend are:  
1.    600 block - alley between D and E Streets
2.    500 block - alley between D and E Streets
3.    400 block - alley between E and F Streets
There are a few things that the Committee still needs to make this effort a success. If you are interested in assisting with any of the things listed below please email or call 561.706.4976. Thank you.
Resident Awareness – On Friday March 11th we’re looking for volunteers to go door-to-door speaking with the residents whose alley ways will benefit from our hard work. We will present the resident with a TRNA flyer, explain what our plans are for the following day and invite them to join the effort.
Work Gear – The TRNA already has five sets of work gloves, plenty of garbage bags, two weed eaters and a truck at its disposal.  Please bring your own work gloves, if you have them, as there may not be enough to go around. No other tools or equipment will be necessary.
Party Supplies – Currently we have hot dogs, salad and bottled water being donated for the party. Please volunteer to bring food or drink if you can.
Tropical Ridge Cleanup Committee
Javier del Sol, Lynne Purvis, Robert Elliott, Sue Clarkson and Sylvia Williams

Lake Worth CRA wins $23.2 million federal grant

Article in today's PB Post - click title for link.  This is old news by now, I guess they are just getting around to it. This is the grant that Commissioners Golden and Jennings thought the CRA should apply for as we would have to adhere to their rules.  Then, Commissioner Golden, in her re-election campaign, used it routinely in her campaign literature as an accomplishment.  There is and will be a fight over this money between the City Commission and the CRA - let's hope it doesn't get in the way of what the grant is designed to improve:  Slum and Blight conditions in the city.

"No" on Amendment 4

Monday, March 8, 2010

Casino Tenant Rents

This is from 2006, but is roughly the same today as everyone is still on a month to month lease.  I talked with someone yesterday that is in a position to know about how much money John Gs brings in per day - $10,000.  Waitresses bring home $300 per day.

Orlando Strip Commercial Area Doing All the Right Things...

Click here to go to Mills50 website.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

We are showing our ignorance of the process...

This is part of the back-up for the discussion item on the City Commission's work session agenda for March 9.  I took the liberty to highlight in yellow the questions that are worthy of asking an architectural firm at this stage in the process - or ever, for that matter.  It might be even a little bit of a reach to ask about the applicability of their design to various grant programs, but it does signal that money is an issue in this project.

The other questions prove that the City does not know what they are doing - which is a scary harbinger for the project in general.  The city should be in the position to tell the six firms what they want on the second floor.  In many ways, this was the city's responsibility to do its homework with the public and with their financial pro-formas BEFORE the RFQ process.  And what does the city want to do with the space - have a ballroom, or something else?  Are we that afraid to be held to our decisions that we are letting architectural firms that are hungry for work tell us what WE want to do with our building?  I thought one of the "givens" of the project was that the tenants will stay in the building (a major complicating and potentially expensive factor) -are we now saying this is "optional.?"  In addition to being expanded or reconfigured, we should be asking if the first floor retail space will be reduced due to the requirement to meet ADA requirements.  And do WE want to keep the porch or breezeway?  The city is in the position of being developer for this project and apparently is not suited to the role.

Regarding "green" elements of the project, it should be a threshold requirement - the degree is the question.  We should be able to state affirmatively that WE want the building to generate its own electricity - if they can't design a building in this manner, then they don't get the job.  How about that?  And to ask how your green features will be able to survive the public participation/charrette process is asking them to gaze in a crystal ball that is hazy at best.  How are they to predict what changes will be accommodated?  And couldn't this have been done before through a series of community workshops before the RFQ process?

Just my two cents.  It is a good thing that we have Vice Mayor Golden, a self-admitted "developer" to help lead us through the process.

Oops!! Mathematical Error in Scoring Casino Architects

Due to a mathematical error, the ranking of architects for the casino has been corrected.  The same six (6) firms are still the top choices score-wise - but the order is changed a little and the three way tie for fourth place has been eliminated.  REG was the top choice according to the original incorrect ranking - now it is Beilinson Gomez.  This process going forward will be discussed at the City Commission's work session on March 9.  Back-up for this item can be found by clicking here.  Check it out as it indicates how each Commissioner and the Mayor ranked the firms' attributes.

P. J. O'Rourke

There's a whiff of the lynch mob or the lemming migration about any overlarge concentration of like-thinking individuals, no matter how virtuous their cause.