Sunday, August 21, 2016

Remember the ITN to fix all the problems at the Lake Worth Casino and pool? On second thought, not such a bad idea?

Note: The City's next Budget Work Session is next Tuesday. Check back for how to watch the meeting Live Streaming and for new information.

The Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) began nearly two years ago and then became something most everyone wanted to forget, until recently. But now if you follow the logic of Commissioner Ryan Maier it's not such a bad idea after all. Nearly everyone following the last City Budget Work Session (see below) recognizes new ideas are needed to fix the failed Casino business model. That's what the ITN was: a public invitation to bring ideas.

The City's Budget Work Session on August 9th woke everyone up. On Saturday, August 6th, penned this blog post about the upcoming work session and reminded everyone about all the issues at the beach including the fact there is still no permanent Certificate of Occupancy. I also reminded everyone all these problems could have been avoided had a previous plan for the beach been given serious consideration: Greater Bay.
The public was never allowed to examine this plan. But it did end up costing taxpayers millions of dollars in legal fees and a settlement. This plan had a new building, new pool, and a parking garage.
The ITN went out to the world in September of 2014. The City basically said we have problems at the Casino/pool and need help. Three entities responded to the request. Meetings were held between respondents to the ITN throughout the late part of 2014 and the early part of 2015. This, of course, all happening during an election cycle. There were claims of secret meetings (untrue) and deals being cut to give away the City's beach (which can't happen).
It was about that time, in late 2014, these signs began popping up from SRS.
Finally, at the end of April 2015, the ITN selection committee made its recommendations. Then the drama began and the cry to "Save Our Beach" went into hyperdrive:
The propaganda: "SHOCK!", "SHOCK II!", "SHOCK III!".
Almost two years later after the ITN began we still have a vacant second floor 'restaurant' space. Design and construction issues related to the building have prevented consideration of that space for a serious tenant. The "breathtaking" view is being used for staff space to run the ballroom functions and for the storage of tables/chairs for the ballroom. No one thought of storage space during the planning process for our "charming" Casino. Unbelievable but true.

And no one really thought how the pool was going to fit into the whole equation and even closed it beginning in 2010, only to be opened again by the new Commission which was elected in 2011. The pool is a "drain" (get it?) on the financial operation of the beach. General accessibility to the Casino building and the loading/unloading requirements are another flaw of the current design.

So here we are, August 2016, and all the problems we had in September 2014 are still problems today. That's why elections are important:
A happy day. No one is smiling any more.