Our City Council Workshop of Monday, October 26th was loaded with interesting agenda items, at least from my point of view. Here are a few highlights that I believe deserve some positive attention:

 

  1. The Wildflower – Finally, the council has directed the administration to find out what it will take to take down the chains, put down a little grass, add a few park benches, and do something about the wall. The idea? To clean the place up and make it usable for the people who paid for it – that’s us! Sincere thanks to Councilor Rodgers for speaking up for this common sense initiative. It will be some time before a final disposition of the property is determined but meanwhile we will all get to use it! Thanks also to all of the citizens, who spoke up in multiple media, for pushing this idea forward.

 

  1. El Rio Park – PGAL presented very early estimates of what it will take to build a park (finally, after over 20 years of waiting) on the southern portion of the El Rio park. There was much discussion about some serious work that will need to be done before a final design can be developed for this potentially wonderful property. This could be perceived as a setback to moving forward. But what I saw and heard was a sincere discussion of items that need to be addressed so that we can actually begin a design! Thanks to all of the Councilors for taking this item seriously and directing the steps that will ultimately move this project forward.

 

  1. Lake Wyman – We once had a great opportunity to participate in a waterfront amenity at Lake Wyman, largely funded by FIND and Palm Beach County. The plan was shelved, but there seems to be a renewed interest in seeing if the project can be revived. I say go for it! Thanks again Councilors, for starting to determine if this is still a possibility!

 

  1. A strategy for our entire waterfront – One can see from items 1, 2, and 3 above, that we have a number of opportunities to create some fantastic waterfront amenities and facilities. Things we can be proud of for generations to come. Our Council directed that we should begin work on a vision for our entire waterfront. This is wise, as long as it doesn’t take years to achieve. Let’s see what develops…..

 

  1. Communications Planning – A lot of good work was reported towards improving communications between the city and the citizenry. Consolidation of websites, Facebook pages, etc. are in the works. There is a focus on delivering facts, rather than points of view, which was reinforced by Councilors Rodgers and Weinroth. This is a big step forward, but is missing a key component related to the two-way nature of communications. How about a public blog, where citizens could comment on any issue at hand and where the city could respond?

 

  1. On a different note, a workshop item on page three of the 2014-2015 Action Plan called for 10,000 square feet additions to downtown developments be considered “minor” changes, and to be approved as line items in the consent agenda rather than be reviewed in the normal development process – Many thanks to Councilor Singer and Mayor Haynie for requesting and receiving clarification that this item is no longer being considered by city staff. We can only hope it is gone forever.

 

There were a lot of other items discussed at this workshop, but these are the ones that stood out to me as constructive developments. I hope, as Councilor Singer indicated, that we can somehow maintain some momentum on these items and bring them to fruition.

 

Regards to all and, as always, thanks for listening,

 

Joe Panella