Friday, July 21, 2017

REMEMBER THIS ONE: “I THINK THAT I SHALL NEVER SEE A POEM AS LOVELY AS A TREE.”



We have a beautiful historic green buttonwood tree, 80-100 years old that will soon move from Steven Levin’s property on Lake Avenue, south of Bradley Park, to a prominent position in Bradley Park, with the Town Council’s approval.  It was once part of the Phipps Estate.

Mr. Levin will pay the $50,000 cost of moving the tree and five years of an estimated $2000 for tree maintenance. This lovely Park is undergoing beautification.  It is expected to be completed by November and includes a new entrance, four gardens, a gazebo overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway, a granite path and new restrooms. The park’s 2-foot Artemis statue also will be moved and its damaged figurine recast.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017



TRAVEL CHANNEL.COM named Palm Beach as one of the top 10 beaches in Florida.

The easternmost town in all of Florida, Palm Beach is lined with its namesake majestic trees and loaded with beautiful beachfront properties, high-end hotels and sprawling resorts.
This 16-mile-long, half-mile-wide island is the epitome of wealth and extravagance. In times past, it served as the winter home to the Vanderbilts, the Kennedys, the Rockefellers and other millionaires. True to form, the town still features some of Florida’s finest hotels, restaurants and shops, as well as beautiful beaches. Perched next to the Gulf Stream, this beach town also enjoys the extra benefit of warm blue water and gentle breezes.

Monday, July 10, 2017

BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME




The Shiny Sheet, in their July 9, 2017 issue, references Laurel Baker, Executive Director of the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce re ideas about revitalizing the 3.92 square miles of Palm Beach to “recapture its sense of place.”

Landmarks and gardens have been restored and preserved by the Preservation Foundation and the Garden Club. The Frisbies (working to update Testa’s Restaurant and re-do fading buildings and empty spaces along Royal Poinciana Way) and UpMarkets (who are trying to bring performances back to the Royal Poinciana Playhouse) are making transformations but not without frivolous lawsuits.
Here is a list of recommendations listed in the Shiny Sheet with my edits in parentheses:
* Studies – spending more and more money to affirm/confirm what is already recognized is poor stewardship and planning. Thirty years and three studies [but] traffic and parking problems [still] exist. Clearly, alternative means of transportation/parking are needed.  (I read that the new downtown Palm Beach condos that will be built by the Frisbies will have parking facilities but more ideas are needed to get shoppers into the area.)
* Exclusivity – for any suggestion made, the response has been “…that’s so West Palm Beach…” Re Trolleys that move 600,000 people a year create more parking and cut down on traffic. Should they really be dismissed out of hand? (Note that West Palm Beach is adding several expensive condo developments, and it is reported that some Palm Beachers are selling their mansions – which perhaps will be torn down and rebuilt by the new owners - moving to those buildings on the intracoastal waterway. The scenario is changing in favor of West Palm Beach and we are waiting to see the buildings go up and become completed that Jeff Greene has in his portfolio. Communities such as Westlake are being developed in the northwest area, and are becoming cities of their own.)
* Beautification – clean and tidy is essential but does not necessarily equate to beauty if designs are stifled. Palm Beach should ooze luxury, beauty, and abundance. Bring on the wow. Bring back the fun.  (Preservation Foundation is doing that, a real good start to more restoration and beautification.)
* Ancestor worship – times have changed but many of the outdated legislation remains, particularly the proof of being “town serving” (defined by something that will NOT attract people from across the bridge).The big stores came, the small ones were pushed out. Until recently, Palm Beach institutions such as Testa’s, Mildred Hoit, C. Orrico and The Church Mouse have still been required to submit annual reports to prove themselves town-serving. Really?  (Be careful or they will move to West Palm Beach too.)
Let’s take this small, rich enclave of well-to-do, educated, high-achievers and get real, get positive and get going.
* Acknowledge the good that is here and make it better
* Initiate from the positive, eliminate the negative. Palm Beach cannot go back to the 1950s and ’60s.
* Recognize that big changes occurred in the 1980s that forever altered the town
* Invest in the town – bring back some of the small shops from the past, whether it was a coffee shop, small boutique, bakery or home delivery service.  (It is still difficult to get a table for lunch at Greene’s Drug Store.)
* Talk with others about positive opportunities. The chamber, Civic Association, Garden Club, Preservation Foundation, Citizens’ Association and Town Council are really all on the same page, looking to make Palm Beach all that it can and should be. (Join some of these organizations and contribute great ideas… and some money.)
The greater threat facing the town is the continued loss of retail/commercial activities. Density is not bad – it brings more goods and services to a community and keeps taxes down. Ease of moving about the town creates greater engagement and a better sense of community. (What are the specific moving about the town ideas? Buses? Are Uber and Lyft working there? Not everyone wants to ride on a Segway.)
This year's overwhelmingly new development is having a sitting President with a home in Palm Beach.
One thing is for sure.  When Palm Beach residents get really involved, things get done and beautifully so.