Sunday, May 17, 2015

In case you are wondering where the overall proposal for the Beach and Casino property can be seen...

About some of the specifics of the proposal Hudson Holdings made to the city, here is a summary of some of the amenities, rates and commitments made by the owner of the Gulfstream in relation to the City's Casino building and pool operations. This information is impossible to find on-line, but it is public information as it was considered and discussed by the ITN Selection Committee.

In response to the questions and refinements requested by the Committee, the last proposal from Hudson Holdings included a new junior Olympic pool that is “L-shaped” so lap swimmers can use the pool at the same time as a water exercise class or a swim class. This is something you cannot do now. The existing pool has the capacity of 312 persons…at most there is about 50 on the weekend so a “smaller new high-tech and 'efficient to heat and treat' pool” would save lots of money and be able to be open for 60 hours a week as opposed to the 29 hours a week now. The city cannot afford to keep the pool open to the public for more than 29 hours a week. Tuesdays and Wednesdays the pool is closed to the public due to the ECAC swim team agreement. Which, if you think about it, is its own private "club."

Last week, while in the pool, I was reminded about the amount of caustic chemicals the city uses on the existing large pool that relies on 1970s technology. From the west side of the pool came a call from the head lifeguard, "I have a big shipment of acid coming this afternoon, so we have to clear the way for that." There are other techniques and technologies available now to treat water that are better for swimmers and the environment than existed at the time the current pool was built. Silver nitrate, ozone, etc., which all have their drawbacks, but a new pool would be the time to examine the alternatives.

There is also a kiddie pool proposed at the junior Olympic pool as well as one at the cabana club pool area. The existing Kiddie Pool is there, but has been empty for the last two years. Under the Hudson Holdings proposal group events could use the pool as well (weddings and receptions). Some could occur in the evening. That grassy area just to the west of the Casino building is where the original casino pool was and it can be a true community pool and gathering area once again, possibly. This area was left out the first go around with the newly 'restored' Casino building.

Here is a post card showing the earlier location of the pool behind the Casino building:
Early view of the Lake Worth Casino Building with pool in back of building. At the time this was a salt water pool.
Rates for the Cabana Pool "Club":

Yesterday, I shared the rates for the City's golf course memberships, along with the proposed rates for the Cabana Club concept at the beach. This would not apply to the Junior Olympic pool that would replace the large pool that has a capacity of 312 people. It would simply provide more shaded area around another set of pools that individuals, families and groups could gather, and not interfere with lap swimmers and other recreational swimmers. Public access would remain "as is" for all other areas of the property. The only "member" area would be the relatively smaller portion of space at the southern edge of the building, next to its own set of two pools.

The other benefits are 1) covered ADA vehicle entry if the weather is bad for events; 2) the garage will have an elevator for people parking on the lower lot to get up to the beach level without needing stairs; 3) the local beach businesses would have more customers during the week and off-season from the conferences and additional events that the complex can accommodate; 4) there would be a shuttle from the new parking garage at the Gulfstream Hotel that guest and others can ride to the beach and to the east end of downtown; 5) downtown businesses would benefit from the hotel bringing in conference guests during the week and off-season too; 6) the city could pay off the $6 million debt it has not paid back to the taxpayers; 7) the expanded complex would bring in some extra money for the city to add another lifeguard during peak hours; and 8) adding over 100 new parking spaces to the 623 at the beach now.

Here are some of the plans that show these details, especially how the single deck of parking above the at-grade parking helps address ADA accessibility issues. Also notice the covered drop-off west of the existing pool which leads to an area with two elevators to get to the upper level of the eastern side of the property.
Chart showing square footage and types of uses by level:
First floor area of new building south of Casino building:
Parking is the area shaded light green and consists of a one level parking deck over an at-grade parking lot.
Second level "Party Room" that would be at the same level as the existing Casino Ballroom.
The existing property and Casino building is a mess because of the same people who screwed it up the first time and who are against anything coming in to fix the problems. Don't expect this to be what we hear from the public during the workshop on Tuesday night.