Saturday, December 1, 2012

“Art & Wine at the Eco” To be Hosted in Downtown Lake Worth Holiday gift show and wine tasting at the “Green” building

(Lake Worth, FL, November 12, 2012) -- Mango Groves Neighborhood Association will host  “Art &Wine at the Eco”, a Holiday Gift Show and Wine Tasting at the EcoCentre in downtown Lake Worth on Saturday, December 1, 2012, from 2 pm.-7 p.m. (Wine tasting is from 6-7 p.m.)

The event will feature area artists whose works will be on display for purchase as one-of-a-kind holiday gifts, music and holiday entertainment, and a selection of wines for tasting.  Admission to the gift show is free.  Admission to the wine tasting is $10.00.

The EcoCentre, also known as the “green building,” is located at 1005 Lake Avenue.  Designed by Lake Worth architect John Szerdi, the building opened in 2008.  With 33,000 square feet of space, it boasts a large atrium, rooftop garden, and a host of green features including countertops made from recycled glass, carpet made from recycled plastic, and bricks from a Chicago building that was torn down.

To purchase tickets for the wine tasting online, go to,  To purchase by phone, or for more information, please call (561) 921-1962.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Mango Groves Neighborhood Association, a nonprofit organization located near downtown Lake Worth.

# # #

Media contact:
Annamaria Windisch-Hunt
(561) 921-1962

Friday, November 30, 2012

Public Information Meeting - Southern Boulevard Bridge

The Florida Department of Transporation (FDOT), District Four, will conduct a public information meeting for the Southern Boulevard Bridge design project on Monday, December 3, 2012 at 5:30 p.m. at St. Catherine Greek Orthodox Church located at 110 Southern Boulevard, West Palm Beach, FL 33405.

For more details, see attached information sheet.

Allen West Getting His Very Own Lighted Holiday Sign on Saturday - Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach - News - The Daily Pulp

Click title for link.  This from the article:
On Saturday, local constituents will be putting up a lighted message at Cultural Plaza in downtown Lake Worth telling West to extend the middle-class tax cuts during his lame-duck session.
The brightly lit three-foot by eight-foot sign will read, "WEST: DON'T BE A TAX CUT GRINCH."
The sign goes up at 6 p.m. at Cultural Plaza, 414 Lake Ave., Lake Worth.

This just in from Germany...

Creative interpretation of code language.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

This just in from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave...

Blooming States

Interactive map showing the population growth patterns of the 50 U.S states by decade.  Data provided by the Census Bureau - click title for link.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cities With Denser Cores Do Better

For those that already think that Lake Worth is too dense in population, I offer this.  Click title for link, from the article:
There is a long tradition in America dating back at least to Thomas Jefferson that suggests people will be happier in more pastoral, less congested settings with their own space. There is also a long line of thinking that sees crowded, dense urban centers as the source of anxiety, agitation, unhappiness, even pathology. But that is not at all what we find. Instead, happiness levels are modestly associated with density that is more concentrated at the center of the city.
Density is a key factor in both the growth of cities, the happiness of cities, and the wealth of nations. And cities and regions where density is more concentrated near their urban cores — appear to gain the biggest economic advantage. 

Taken at 2:20 p.m. corner of 13th Avenue North and Dixie Hwy.

Captions please!
This was sent in by a loyal reader.  Everyone hopes that no one was hurt.

News on Casino Building Operations

Click here for Press Release issued by the City of Lake Worth regarding operations of the casino building - event planning and building maintenance.

Boynton Beach shuffleboarders say they're being shoved out of...

Click title for link to article on the remaining shuffleboard courts in Palm Beach County.  This appears in small print at the end of the article:
Lake Worth converted its shuffleboard complex, at 1121 Lucerne Ave., into a resource center for migrant workers. After two years, its lease wasn’t renewed in 2010. The building’s due for extensive rehab following the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005, facilities coordinator Steve Haughn said. He said it now houses the city’s recreation department. A member of the Boynton Beach group approached Lake Worth about two weeks ago and the city is considering pressure cleaning and touch-up of the courts, and perhaps adding benches. Haughn said shuffleboarders could have a large storage closet in the building and would have access to its restrooms.
The benches were removed during the Stanton regime.

Fast Track Trampoline Sidewalk Takes Your Commute to a Whole New Level | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

I am surprised that the Michael Singer plan for the beach didn't include one of these!  Click title for link to article with pictures.

Laughing out loud...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Vote 4 Florida Tag

Click title for link to website where you can vote for one of four Florida standard license tag choices.

Click here for last week's WPBR Mayor's Radio Show - with guest hosts Mike Bornstein and John Szerdi

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Two Lake Worth Beach Site Plans - Compare and Contrast

With all the talk about the shortcomings of the current design of the beach, I thought it might be helpful to compare and contrast two versions of what our beach will soon look like and what our beach property might have looked like.  I will attempt to point out certain functional design issues and pair these observations with pictures that I took yesterday. 
This version is the current site plan - available on the city's website - of the current beach site plan.  It is dated November 19, 2009 prepared by Kimley- Horn and Associates, Inc. and is based on the design of Michael Singer.  After the city broke the contract with Greater Bay, then private citizen Rene Varela - soon to become Mayor who resigned before the end of his term - "found" the Micheal Singer Group and introduced them to the City Commission.  Then Commissioner Jennings at the time fell in love with the firm and their design concepts - referring to them as a combination of artists and engineers.  They were to work their "magic" on the site plan - as they had done for the waterfront in downtown West Palm Beach.

The key parameter given the group was that the building was to remain in the exact same place as the current building.  This was billed at the time as evidence that the city was "saving the building" and a way to get away from discussion of the casino building - essentially by ignoring by treating its placement as a "given."

The city was operating under the interlocal agreement with Palm Beach County related to the $5 million portion of the County's cultural facilities bond issue that was allocated to refurbishing the Lake Worth beach.  The agreement called for the city maintaining the existing number of parking spaces present at the beach, regardless of the ultimate design of the beach.  So another "given" was that the city would have 563 parking spaces available to the general public.  Any parking area funded by the County grant could not be reserved only for Lake Worth residents - through the city's beach parking decal program.  As you can see the plan above, the parking shaded in gray along the property's northern boundary line is excluded from Palm Beach County funding.  City money is funding this area of the project.  The site plan above was ultimately "blessed" by the County Commission and the City Commission, through some sort of shuttle diplomacy at the hand of Commissioner Jennings.

In addition to severely reducing the number of spaces available in the upper lot, the site plan addressed no operational or functional issues.  It also did not address the condition of the existing pool building.  It did not address emergency access, delivery spaces or solid waste collection in any meaningful way.  It did not address "reasonable" accessibility to the casino building.  Using Google Earth to measure the approximate distance between the upper parking area - where the handicapped designated spaces are located - shows that the main door that the public uses for Mulligan's is about 480 feet away from the closest upper level handicapped parking space.  Of course, the distance is further for those that are not designated handicapped spaces.  Remember, the closest spaces to the north are designated for City of Lake Worth decal holders.

Mulligan's - in order to address this overly distant parking situation - is resorting to shuttling patrons via golf cart to and from the parking area.  Palm Beach County's R. G. Kruesler Park, just north of the Lake Worth Beach relies on its handicapped parking to be provided by the Lake Worth Beach.  Look at the following pulled from the Palm Beach County park's web page:
So, locating the nearest handicapped parking spaces available to the general public in the center of the beach property creates an accessibility issue for the county park to the north, as well (these handicapped spaces are about 700 feet from the southern boundary of the county park.)  Thus we have another unforeseen consequence of the Michael Singer design.  It should be noted that during the public review of this particular plan, those that pointed out weaknesses in the design were "against the project" or "for tearing the building down" or "for Greater Bay" and marginalized as a result.

Yesterday, I took the following pictures of the area north of the casino building:
Sign placed by County at Kreusler Park's western entrance.

Gate at eastern entrance to park.  There is a similar gate at the western entrance.

Roundabout north of casino building - no parking available here.

Another sign placed by the County.  City decal parking area in center background of photo.
In an apparent defensive move, the County has placed two signs with working gates which say "Parking Closes at Sunset."  It turns out its parking spaces are more than two times closer to the main entrance than those found on the city's beach property.  Human nature being what it is, people have sought out parking spaces that are closest to the destination where they are going.  This area has also benefited from temporary lighting at night - which would tend to draw people as well.  Why would you want to parking in the dark, twice as far away as the closer alternative?  Granted, the situation will improve somewhat when the parking lot lighting is in place, but it is still a long way to the casino building, if that is your ultimate destination.

So that is the existing situation caused by not using the property as more of a blank canvas and looking at alternatives to the placement of the main building to address these situations.  It is much better, and less expensive, to deal with these issues on paper - than attempt to address them after work is "completed."  For an interesting read, click here for the minutes of the Planning and Zoning meeting from January 19, 2011 when this site plan was discussed and approved.  There is no mention of handicapped parking spaces, little mention of service areas (nebulous) and a lot of discussion about non-existent wind turbines and cisterns.  All of those items were eliminated due to value engineering of the project.
Greater Bay Site Plan dated 8 21 06
What appears above is the site plan associated with the Greater Bay project.  It moved the building to the center of the site, providing a clear ocean vista when one crested the bridge.  It also moved much of the new construction behind the Coastal Construction Control Line.  The new construction would still require a piling or structural foundation - which could have been easily accommodated through the construction of a new building.  I don't think I need to remind you that the city tore down the former building for the NEW casino building that exists today.  This plan also shows a single deck parking area just west of the casino building which would provide direct access to both levels of the building.  This site plan shows a total of 780 parking spaces and a significant amount of green area in the south eastern part of the property.  And, guess what - the eyesore of a pool building is gone with this site plan.  Unfortunately, this plan - or worthy elements of it - where never allowed to see the light of day in terms of being formally reviewed by the city.

You could say that this plan cost the city around $2.5 million - $1.6 million in a settlement payment to Greater Bay and around $900,000 in legal fees defending the city's position.  It also represents a high degree of opportunity costs - we have to live with a less functional beach property now and deal with the consequences.

City Press Release Announcing the "Grand Re-Opening" of the Pool...

This was put out by the city in June of 2008 after work performed by Greater Bay Group, LLC was complete.  Greater Bay was called in to complete the work before the city lost a Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program grant.

The pool currently remains closed and is considered "condemned" - along with the pool building.