Saturday, December 9, 2017

“Arts have $345.3 million impact on county’s economy” and City of Lake Worth is cited in the Shiny Sheet.

Below is an excerpt from this article in the Palm Beach Daily News, aka The Shiny Sheet, by reporter Jan Sjostrom.

Keep in mind whilst you’re reading this news how much an impact it would be having a hotel open for business in Downtown Lake Worth hosting visitors for the Street Painting Festival, Midnight Sun Festival, PrideFest of the Palm Beaches, and Garlic Fest in the County’s John Prince Park, to name just a few festivals and events in and nearby our City.

The recent Shiny Sheet news:

The arts put money in our pockets. That’s the message behind a new economic impact study commissioned by the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County.
     The Americans for the Arts study, which used 2015 figures from 79 nonprofit Palm Beach County cultural groups and audience surveys, found that spending by the county’s cultural organizations and their audiences supported 8,237 jobs and had an economic impact of $345.3 million. The figure topped $633.4 million, when all spending by tourists who visited at least one of the county’s 19 largest cultural organizations is factored in. The cultural sector generated $33.8 million in local and state government revenue.
     Study results for Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Jupiter, Lake Worth and West Palm Beach also were released.
     “We’re going to change the story of the arts from one of charity to one of industry,” said Randy Cohen, vice president of research and policy for Americans for the Arts.

The public here in our City of Lake Worth deserves answers and they’ve been waiting long enough. Even a short press release about what is happening or not happening with our Downtown historic structure, the Gulfstream Hotel.

Start by contacting your elected officials.

Why does City of Lake Worth need an “Official” Facebook page? It’s a very effective way to inform the public.

For example, take the Lake Worth Neighborhood Road Program:

“NOTICE. Please have your vehicle(s) moved from the streets and intersections . . . until paving has been completed.” Because if your vehicle is parked on a particular street, “during the stated dates of construction, it will be towed.”

Learn more about this ‘NOTICE’ for City of
Lake Worth residents below.

Another example, engaging and educating the public going forward about the important issue of changes to our City’s Historic Preservation program as was recently reported in The Lake Worth Herald. Whilst on the topic of improved ‘publicizing’ of upcoming public meetings:

     As for the [historic preservation] design guidelines, Mayor Pam Triolo said some extra effort should be made in publicizing upcoming meetings so residents can learn what’s expected.
     “We’re trying to create solutions for people and not create more problems for them,” Triolo said.
Quote from article in Palm Beach Post datelined Dec. 7th, 2017.

For nearly a year now the City of Greenacres has been using Facebook as one of their official tools to get information out to the public. Some recent Facebook postings for residents of Greenacres:
  • “There will be a Bid Opening on December 21 at 3pm in Council Chambers for Professional Surveying Services for Jog Road & Lake Worth Road Medians Bid No. 18-001”
  • From Dec. 6th: “Planning Commission and Local Planning Agency Meeting tonight @ 7pm - Council Chambers”.
  • News from Dec. 4th: “City Council Meeting Tonight @ 7pm - Council Chambers”.

True. The City of Lake Worth does have an official Twitter feed (and so does Greenacres as well).

But. . . Facebook and Twitter are two very, very different means of communication.

Whereas Facebook is the “Public Square” and has been for many years now, Twitter is ideally suited for instantly getting news (or correcting/clarifying news reports) to media outlets, reporters, and other ‘newsies’ on Twitter who then share that information through other means, e.g., Facebook, TV news segments and as re-written press releases later published in the Post, for example, the recent resignation of Finance Director Marie Elianor.

So. Does a lot of information sent out on Twitter, “make the news”? If you recall, for Hurricane Irma it did. But that’s the exception and not the rule for a “Tweet” from the City. Prior to and during Hurricane Irma the local press was mostly absent (except for Post reporter Joe Capozzi, for example, who re-Tweeted many of the City Tweets) but by using Twitter the City was able to get its message out to media outlets like NBC5/WPTV and CBS12/WPEC about what was happening in this City.

Yes. Twitter does work. But it depends
on the situation.

Then there’s the silly argument “some people can say bad things about Lake Worth on our Facebook page.” No they can’t. Not if you do what Greenacres did. Disable the ability to make comments. It’s as simple as that.

A Facebook page doesn’t need to be a space for public debate — not if it’s only used as a tool for getting important public information out to the public — and not promoting any particular elected official or one particular agenda.

The Rule of Thumb is: “If you don’t control your message, somebody else will.”

As far as content on a City of Lake Worth “Official” Facebook page:
  • Date and times of upcoming City meetings.
  • “Watch Commission meetings Live Streaming. Learn how.”
  • Hurricane and storm alerts.
  • Active Outages” in Lake Worth’s Electric Utility service area.
  • Special Events”.
  • Information for water/sewer customers, like what number to call in an emergency.

Now back to the “NOTICE” at the top
of this blog post:

“Please have your vehicle(s) moved from the streets and intersections . . . until paving has been completed.” Because if your vehicle is parked on a particular street, “during the stated dates of construction, it will be towed.”

This is information the City of Lake Worth should be communicating with its residents on Facebook.
Click on image to enlarge:
But instead this ‘message’ from the City ended up on Facebook page hosted by a City resident. The City of Lake Worth needs to communicate its own message. If you agree, start by contacting your elected officials.

Friday, December 8, 2017

“City of Greenacres Notice of Code
Text Amendment”

The item below appears in this week’s Lake Worth Herald, page 8:

Public Hearing of the City Council
Ordinance No. 2017-31

Notice is hereby given pursuant to Florida Statutes 197.3632(3)(a) and other applicable laws and authority vested in the City Council of Greenacres, Florida, to call and hold public hearings and give notice thereof, that a public hearing will be held to consider an Ordinance concerning the colocation of small wireless facilities or micro wireless facilities.

Said Public Hearing To Be Held On:

Monday, December 18, 2017 for the adoption of Ordinance 2017-31 by the City Council, at 7:00 p.m., in the Council Chambers of the City of Greenacres, 5800 Melaleuca Lane, Greenacres, Florida.

and. . .

Explanation Of Ordinance: This Ordinances is for a code text amendment to revise Chapter 11, Streets, Sidewalks and Other Public Places; related to wireless communication facilities within right-of-ways.

General Location: Citywide.

Information Available To The Public: Written materials pertaining to the proposed zoning text amendment may be inspected by the public one week before the above-mentioned hearing, at the Planning and Engineering Department or the City Clerk’s office, both of which are located in the City Hall of Greenacres, Florida at 5800 Melaleuca Lane, from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. daily except on Saturday and Sunday. Interested parties may appear at the above-mentioned public hearing and be heard with respect to the requested zoning text amendment. Additional information may be obtained by contacting the Planning and Engineering Department at (561) 642-2054.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The day Mr. Omari Hardy visited Lake Worth City Hall, December 20th, 2016.

See that very short video below. Last year Mr. Hardy attended a City Commission meeting to briefly announce he was a candidate for District 2 in the City of Lake Worth. Mr. Hardy, of course, is now Commissioner Omari Hardy following his election in March, earlier this year.

Prior to Hardy speaking at public comment, Mayor Pam Triolo explains the rules to the public. Then the mayor read a comment card that was turned in by Dustin Zacks. The is what Mr. Zacks wrote:

“Please help me spread holiday cheer. Everyone please make sure to wish Wes Blackman and the Michigan State Spartans good luck in their bowl game this year. Sparty On!”

What a difference a year makes. Zacks’ joke was the Spartans had a terrible year and didn’t make it to a bowl game in 2016. This year, 2017, was a completely different story! The Michigan Wolverines (8-4) got beat out by the Michigan State Spartans (9-3). The Spartans are going to the Holiday Bowl on December 28th.

Anyhow, back to Mr. Hardy last December:

Hardy spoke briefly, for 20 seconds. He introduced himself and wished everyone a happy holiday season. Every candidate thinking of running for a seat on the City Commission in the March 2018 elections needs to do what Hardy did.

I recall Hardy attending many City and neighborhood meetings. He was involved. Next Tuesday, Dec. 12th at Noon is the end of the Qualifying Period to get ones name on the ballot for the March 13th, 2018 elections.

Commissioner Hardy won because he deserved to win. There is still some ‘sour grapes’ by some that Hardy only won by a small margin, but he received the votes necessary to avoid a run-off election. By the way, last October the Michigan State Spartans only beat the Michigan Wolverines by a few points too. But those few points made all the difference in the world.

Click on play and then fast-forward to the 4:50 mark in the video when Mr. Hardy visited Lake Worth City Hall last December. That set the stage for what would happen just a few months later, when Hardy beat the long-time incumbent Chris McVoy, PhD.

McVoy didn’t lose the election. Hardy won.
Don’t forget that.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

December 15th at 4:00, “Lake Worth’s First” craft beer brewery is open
to the public.

To learn more about Mathew’s Brewing Co. click on this link and check out the FAQ page too. For example:

“Do you fill growlers? Yes. We fill quarts, half-gallons and gallon growlers of our craft beers.”

To follow Mathew’s Brewing on Facebook use this link.

You can also contact Mathew’s Brewing by
calling 561-762-7293 or send an email to:
“Putting Lake Worth on the map with its first craft brewery. We’re bringing great beer to a great city! We’re easy to get to, hard to leave.”

Businesses in the City are encouraged to attend the next Lake Worth Business Alliance meeting at Toojay’s next week.

The next meeting is at Toojay’s in Downtown Lake Worth (419 Lake Ave.) on December 14th beginning at 8:00 a.m. Anyone considering opening a new business here in this City is also encouraged to attend.

Below are notes and information about what happened at the Lake Worth Business Alliance (LWBA) meeting held on November 28th.

First and foremost, these meeting of the LWBA are not about “the airing of grievances”, it’s about the big picture, the entire business community and the City working together. Those having an issue with the City on a matter such as getting approvals or long delays are encouraged to work with LWBA members following the meeting; there will certainly be people there with good ideas and ways to help solve your problem.

The LWBA is focused on moving forward to create cooperation in the Lake Worth business community and forming a consistent and reliable way to communicate its message with the City of Lake Worth. This effort is one supported by Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein responding to what he sees is a vital need: getting the City and business community more involved in finding solutions to problems for everyone’s benefit and future success.

From the City’s point of view, commercial and business interests need to be much more engaged in what is happening, e.g., regulatory changes and attempts to reduce or eliminate those that are detrimental to conducting business and attracting more businesses.

To become a part of the LWBA there is one major rule: Your business must be located within the City of Lake Worth’s 6-square-mile municipal borders.

The inaugural meeting of the LWBA was on October 18th and really set the focus moving forward. The ‘tipping point’ prior to the first meeting was when so many business owners and concerned citizens began complaining out loud about all the burdensome and time-consuming regulations. This organization will be one way to effectively address these issues.

That’s how the idea of a “Lake Worth Business Alliance” came to be.

In bullet list format, notes taken at the LWBA meeting on Nov. 28th, in no particular order:

  • The LWBA reaffirmed its focus on businesses within the City limits of Lake Worth and not on those outside the City in unincorporated areas (also referred to as “suburban Lake Worth”).
  • Having sign-in sheets is very important along with invitations to the next scheduled meeting.
  • The mission statement needs to be decided upon. The ideas discussed: Focus on educating businesses and the public on the municipal City limits and its unique qualities and issues as well. Build a brand of what it means to be here: Beach, historic cottages, neighborhoods, the Downtown, and ideal location in Central Palm Beach County. Possibly a slogan such as, “Working Together for City of Lake Worth”, an alliance of businesses supporting businesses.
  • Promote the LWBA via the newsletter delivered with the City utility bill. The city manager also suggested this could be done on the City’s website.
  • The Alliance needs to become a formal organization. Build a website for the LWBA to get the word out. A $75/year membership was suggested to have funds to pay for advertising.
  • An important discussion and decision: profit vs. non-profit. For-profit is easier to create but non-profit will give access to grants. Possibly the LWBA could model itself like the Neighborhood Association Presidents’ Council? There were no attorneys at the Nov. 28th meeting and everyone in attendance was asked to invite local attorneys to the next meeting.
  • An official calendar for time, date and place for future meetings needs to be created. Many venues and times were discussed and it was suggested that various local business venues be used to promote local businesses. Another suggestion was the LWBA should promote FREE public parking and create temporary signage directing attendees to meetings.
  • The LWBA needs to become an initial contact for new businesses moving into the City. Create a “Welcome Wagon” of some sort, with the message that alliance members actively support each other’s businesses and support local business whenever possible.
  • Creating an easy-to-use map was a topic brought up promoting the LWBA and whether it should be a traditional folding paper map or one created for social media.
  • Find a way to work closely with the City of Lake Worth and the business community to collect information regarding individual business events, services, history, and unique qualities.
  • There is a need for an organization that offers the opportunity for a business-to-business exchange of ideas and promotion. It is also important to create business-to-consumer promotional opportunities.
You’re encouraged to bring a colleague, employee, or anyone you think will be interested in learning more about the LWBA and bring your ideas. Plenty of time will be available for comment and exchanging of ideas.

Am looking forward to the next LWBA meeting at Toojay’s on December 14th at 8:00 a.m.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The City of Lake Worth ‘is a small, beautiful community’ too. And elected officials can be, at times, uncivil as well.

But is incivility always wrong? Or is there a
right time and right place for it?

Below is an excerpt from an interesting article in The Coastal Star by reporter Rich Pollack titled, “Highland Beach: Commission wants return to civility”.

It was partly because of this same issue, incivility, that voters marched to the polls last March here in the City of Lake Worth and elected then-Messrs. Omari Hardy and Herman Robinson in what was theorized to be on this blog, “The Rise of the Middle”. And as expected, Commissioner Hardy in District 2 and Commissioner Robinson in District 4 wasted no time asserting themselves, each in their own way, and that created in their first few months on the dais some sparring on a few topics, but mostly the civil type of back-and-forth at the Commission.

This ‘civility’ at the Commission continued on for about 4 months until Hardy began to get very impatient waiting for the City’s “Resolution of Support” for the Blueway Trail project. Then last October 3rd at that City Commission meeting, well, let’s just say all hell broke loose. You can read all about that kerfuffle by clicking on this link.

So what’s the point? Sometimes losing one’s temper is exactly the right thing to do.

As an elected official one cannot be seen getting angry often — but when an elected official, such a Commissioner Hardy, gets extremely passionate about a project with so much potential for his constituents in District 2 — one would expect Hardy to get angry and very passionate.

Now back to the article in The Coastal Star:

For years, Highland Beach Town Commission meetings have started with that civility pledge read by the town clerk.
    In recent months, however, civility among commissioners has been overshadowed by shouting, name calling and interruptions.
    The commission frequently splits 3-2 on issues, with Mayor Carl Feldman, Vice Mayor Bill Weitz and Commissioner George Kelvin voting one way, while commissioners Rhoda Zelniker and Elyse Riesa vote the other.

and. . .

    Now, after months of bickering and constant interruptions, commissioners are taking steps to restore calm and end the infighting.
    At a meeting late last month, commissioners agreed to accept an 11-page document of conduct guidelines prepared by the town attorney’s office.
    In addition, the commission listened to a 20-minute presentation from Patricia McDougle, a professional registered parliamentarian, who explained appropriate parliamentary procedure.

By the way. . .

The Coastal Star was recently awarded “A raft of press awards” from the Florida Press Club in the 66th annual Excellence in Journalism competition. To learn more about that, and about some former reporters at the Post who now write for The Coastal Star, click on this link.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Congratulations, Willie Howard!
And about the news, “A raft of press awards for The Coastal Star”.

Mr. Willie Howard, many City of Lake Worth residents will recall, was a former long-time
Post beat reporter for the City.

Below is Mr. Howard doing his “Man on the Spot” election reporting in November 2009 at what is now called C.W.S. Bar + Kitchen on Lucerne Ave. All the action that Election Day was chronicled as well by the inimitable Lake Worth blogger Tom McGow; see the image below produced by McGow of reporter Willie Howard going over the election results eight years ago.

Sadly, Barbara Jean Weber, the woman in the image below (center) has recently passed. This was front page news in The Lake Worth Herald last week with headline, “An Angel Leaves Lake Worth”.
From the Herald, “The never ending smile which graced the City Commission meetings in Lake
Worth for many years has left the building . . .
[Barbara Jean] searched for and found
the good in everyone she met.”

Back to Willie Howard and the
news in The Coastal Star.

Lake Worth’s former beat reporter recently took home a first- and second-place award for “Excellence in Journalism” (see bullet lists below):

The Coastal Star collected six first-, three second- and six third-place awards in the 66th annual Excellence in Journalism Competition sponsored by the Florida Press Club.
     The awards were handed out at the Press Club’s banquet Nov. 4 in Sarasota.
     The Coastal Star took home honors in the Class D division, which encompasses non-daily newspapers, community, tribal and college newspapers. Florida magazines and newspaper supplements are included in the class.

To read the entire article in The Coastal Star
click on this link.

In bullet list form here are the first- and second-place winners for “Excellence in Journalism”:

“First-place awards went to”
  • Cheryl Blackerby, Writing: Environmental News
  • Mary Hladky, Writing: Health Writing
  • Willie Howard, Writing: Sports Column
  • Rich Pollack, Writing: Public Safety Reporting
  • Scott Simmons, Layout: Front Page Design
  • Tim Stepien, Photography: General News
“Second-place awards went to”
  • Brian Biggane, Writing: Sports Feature Writing
  • Hiram Henriquez, Illustration: Info-graphic Presentation
  • Willie Howard, Writing: Environmental News
To see all of the latest news in The Coastal Star, “A community of neighbors celebrating life along the shore” use this link.

Just in case you missed this:

New “News” from the City: “Lake Worth Joins National Program ‘SolSmart’ to Reduce Solar Energy Costs”.

The City of Lake Worth
is “open for solar business”.

This news (see below) is from the City of Lake Worth’s monthly newsletter, “Worth Noting”. To become
a subscriber click on this link.
Remember, your OFFICIAL news source about
the City of Lake Worth IS the City of Lake Worth.

Stay tuned for the City’s official Facebook
page coming soon as well.

But first, before we get to “SolSmart”, on the front page of the latest City newsletter is how to contact your electeds in our City, “Mayor & Commissioners” and City leadership:
  • Pam Triolo, Mayor: Call 561-586-1735; email:
  • Scott Maxwell, Vice Mayor/District 1: 561-586-1731;
  • Omari Hardy, District 2: 561-586-1732;
  • Andy Amoroso, District 3: 561-586-1733;
  • Herman Robinson, District 4: 561-586-1734;
  • Michael Bornstein, City Manager: 561-586-1689;
  • Juan Ruiz, Assistant City Manager: 561-586-0361;

The news from the City
about “SolSmart”:

The City of Lake Worth has recently teamed up and joined other cities and counties participating in SolSmart. The national designation program provides technical assistance and guides communities in lowering the costs and barriers for community members to go solar and encourages solar energy development. The City and County were selected together in a nationwide competitive process [emphasis added] to be granted no-cost technical assistance from a SolSmart Advisor.
     The Advisor has been working full-time since July to provide expertise and dedicated support to encourage solar energy growth locally and to help achieve SolSmart designation. To receive a SolSmart designation, communities must take action to reduce solar “soft costs,” which are non-hardware costs that can increase the time and money it takes to install a solar energy system. Examples of soft costs include planning and zoning; permitting, interconnection, and inspection; financing; customer acquisition; and installation labor, which can account for up to two thirds of the cost of a solar installation. Reducing these costs will lead to savings that are passed on to consumers.
“As a SolSmart advisor, I am proud to be working with the City of Lake Worth to incorporate efficiencies like simplified permitting and inspection and solar friendly ordinances in order to make it easier for homeowners and businesses to go solar”, said Jennifer Barenholtz, SolSmart Advisor for the City of Lake Worth.
Recently, Lake Worth has received a Bronze designation from the national SolSmart program for taking steps to encourage solar energy growth and remove obstacles to solar development. The City has a goal of achieving a Gold designation by taking the boldest steps to fully streamline the solar permitting process. For companies looking to expand, a SolSmart Bronze designation is a signal that Lake Worth is “open for solar business”.
     Our hope is that our efforts will empower more homeowners and businesses to go solar, generate their own clean energy, and save money on their electric bills.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

A beat reporter, ‘news’, murals, and disingenuous word “permanent” vs. an accurate word, “temporary”.

Referring to painted and spray-painted murals in Downtown Lake Worth as ‘permanent’ couldn’t possibly be more inaccurate, misleading, and downright silliness:
Now, 10 artists from Brazil, the United Kingdom, Spain and the United States are in Lake Worth painting colorful murals that will become a permanent part of the city’s landscape.

Here’s the definition of “permanent”:

  • existing perpetually; everlasting, especially without significant change
  • intended to exist or function for a long, indefinite period without regard to unforeseeable conditions
  • long-lasting or nonfading

The definition of “temporary”:

  • lasting, existing, serving, or effective for a time only
  • not permanent [!] [emphasis added]
  • for a short period of time

Simply put. . .

No murals are “permanent” here in the City of
Lake Worth. Structures are, the mural is not.

Whilst on the subject of temporary art in public spaces in our City, using the medium chalk, the iconic Street Painting Festival is coming up and is now accepting artist applications!

A spray painted mural will last a year, or two
years, or maybe even longer. But they are in
no way “permanent”:

Do you remember the wildly popular “Off the Wall” event in 2015 at the LULA Arts Annex and former shuffleboard courts which is now called HATCH?

Fast forward to Nov. 2017. More new temporary murals!

Remember. Any time soon we will learn more about plans to redevelop the now-condemned municipal pool at our Beach. Expect a fun fight!
So get to our Lake Worth Beach and enjoy this tremendously vibrant art and share it with
everyone you know!

The east wall of the Cultural Council in
Downtown Lake Worth:
Have you seen the time-lapse video of The Hula
at the Robert A. Harris Bridge, the view
from Bryant Park?

Enjoy watching The Hula:

Wednesday, December 6th is Finland’s 100th Year of Independence.

Dear residents of our City of Lake Worth: Please keep our Sister City in Finland, Lappeenranta, in your thoughts. To send a Tweet to Lappeenranta and say, “Happy 100th Year!”, click on this link.

Do you have blue and white lights to celebrate with Lappeenranta and the County of Finland as they celebrate “100 years of independence on
6 December”?

And get ready! The City of Lake Worth’s Midnight Sun Festival is one of the City’s most popular festivals
and is held every March:
Remember the March 2017 feature story by Post reporter Michael Reading titled, “Not Finnish? Not to worry. Midnight Sun Festival will appeal to all”.

What’s the latest? Find out below how you can show your support for our Sister City Lappeenranta on Wednesday, December 6th:

“Blue and white light will shine
in Finland and abroad.”

Although the City of Lake Worth’s Sister City Board was eliminated due to a lack of commitment from the City to recruit volunteers or to actively promote the Sister City program, the work continues to find another entity to carry on our Sister City efforts, such as by the Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Authority (CRA) and/or the Palm Beach County Cultural Council.

For more about what happened last August when the Sister City Board was ‘Sunset’ (eliminated) by the Lake Worth City Commission click on this link for that sad story,

“Dear Lappeenranta, Finland. Our City’s Sister City Board is being eliminated. But please don’t give up hope.”

Dear citizens of Lake Worth, please don’t give up hope we’ll have a vibrant Sister City program once again.

Show your support for our Sister City Lappeenranta this coming Monday (Dec. 6th) and shine the “Blue and white light!”

Finland celebrates 100 years of independence on 6 December. The centenary has been celebrated throughout the year on every continent, in more than 100 countries. Several countries are taking part in the celebrations 5–6 December by illuminating central and symbolic buildings and venues with blue and white light. The Finnish Broadcasting Company will air the unforgettable moments from the illuminated venues on different channels.
     The enthusiasm to illuminate iconic buildings and venues with blue and white light has now spread from Finland to many other countries. For example, Niagara Falls in Canada; the Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden; the Colosseum in Rome, Italy; Belém Tower in Lisbon, Portugal; and Castle Fortaleza in Maputo, Mozambique will be lit up with blue and white light.

Take the time today and contact your
elected leaders and say

Let’s light up a public building here in
our City of Lake Worth “with blue and
white light” for our Sister City,
Lappeenranta, Finland!

Lake Worth Casino, progress on 2nd floor ‘fix’: As for Feb. 15th deadline, “We’ll just have to wait and see?”

Briefly, for a look back how we got here, what happened at the Lake Worth Casino 2nd floor in September 2015, and why “It’s only a problem when it rains . . . and it rains a lot in south Florida”, click on this link to see those photos and emails from over two years ago.

Below is a brief update (with recent photos from last week) about where we are now vis-à-vis the 2nd floor at Lake Worth Casino structure.

From last September on this blog asked, “With the February 15th [2018] deadline approaching, what is the status of the Casino settlement?” The settlement between the City of Lake Worth with Morganti (the construction company) and REG (the architect) if you recall, was finally reached on August 1st of this year.

Now, with the deadline less than three months away, this would be the perfect time for a press release from the entities involved — whether from the City or construction company, or both — about the status of this long-overdue ‘fix’ (as its been described at Commission meetings), or is the message to the public, “We’ll just have to wait and see?”

This ‘fix’ is one of the more obvious issues and “hot-button” topics, but certainly not the only one. For example, how will the City recoup all the lost revenue since 2012–2013 not having a fully functional 2nd floor at the Casino and Beach complex?

One last point: How will it be proven the ‘fix’ actually works and prevents water from leaking into the Casino structure?

A former City commissioner, the one with a PhD, suggested during one of the many meetings about another in a long line of “Tolling Agreements” that 5 or 6 fire trucks could be lined up in front of the structure and have firemen blast the 2nd floor with water for 15 minutes or so. Not sure how ‘scientific’ that would be, but at least it’s something.

However, even after the work is completed, there are many unanswered questions. Again, will the City ever reclaim lost revenue from the 2nd floor vacant space “with a ‘killer’ view”? After the ‘fix’ will the Casino be LEED certified? Will the Casino structure receive a permanent Certificate of Occupancy (CO) or continue operating with a permanent temporary CO, a certificate that doesn’t even exist but keeps the doors open? Will the City be protected if it’s discovered later on water continues to leak into the structure?

Anyhow. . .

The good news is work has commenced on the 2nd floor of the Casino structure and is scheduled to be completed by or prior to February 15th:

Two photos from 4 days ago.
Click on the images to enlarge. 
On the 2nd floor, view looking east.

A closer look:
And stay tuned: Before long we’ll be learning more from CPZ Architects and the “Lake Worth Beach Complex Conceptual Plans Design, Cost Estimates & Construction Design and Construction Phase”.

It’s time to get vibrant, creative: Ring in New Year 2018 on rooftop of the Gulfstream Hotel, host a Ghost Hunt!

Just because there’s no political will right now to get this structure open once again doesn’t mean this landmark can’t be used to help Downtown merchants. The City of Lake Worth has adjusted quite well to being a little side-trip for those staying in West Palm Beach and Palm Beach hotels. So why not try and up the game? Use the Gulfstream Hotel for parties? Maybe even a Ghost Hunt!

Cities and towns all over Palm Beach County are planning with their business community to attract tourists and visitors and keep them coming back far into the future. However, there will always be a need for other cities, e.g., Lake Worth, to provide services like a few hours of entertainment, party services, or for use on a sight-seeing brochure.

That frees up other cities to focus on the important things, like trying to catch up and fill the need for hotel rooms here in Palm Beach County:

“Tourism surge lures 6
new hotels to area”

“An eight-year stretch of record-breaking growth for Palm Beach County’s tourism industry has led to a surge in new hotel construction.”
—News from business reporter Jennifer Sorentrue. Use this link to read entire article.

Of course, our City of Lake Worth is not mentioned in this article. However, things looked promising last April for a new hotel in our Downtown:

“Demolishing the derelict structures on the neighboring [Gulfstream Hotel] property began Thursday [March 30th], said Jeff Mustard, a Hudson Holdings spokesman.”

But later we learned the Lake Worth CRA paid to demolish those eyesores — derelict structures on the western side of the property — not Hudson Holdings.

Going back even further, to a former tabloid that’s since gone defunct:

“This seems to call into question whether the developer would re-open the Gulfstream Hotel . . . and build a ‘second hotel’ if not awarded the beachfront project.”

Click on image to enlarge:
“We would like to immediately get to an agreement,” the developer writes in a March 2 [2015] letter. . .

If our City of Lake Worth is not going to join the “Hotel boom” here in Palm Beach County, why not at least do something with the Gulfstream Hotel property to attract visitors and tourists to our Downtown? Like maybe host the “World’s Largest Ghost Hunt” on New Years Eve?

Click on image to enlarge.

This event was abruptly cancelled last September.
Resident ghosts weren’t properly notified?
A “Ghost Hunt” would at least be something. New Years Eve is less than a month away. Search for ghosts and then have a big party on the roof to welcome in the New Year 2018!