Saturday, December 18, 2010

Deerfield Beach Residents: Only if you care.

Everyone who cares about what happens to the Main Beach Parking lot should be at the upcoming CRA Workshop Meetings, 1/20/11 and 2/3/11 at 6:00 pm. The January 20th meeting will be held in the Cove Shopping Center’s Royal Fiesta Caterers on the south east side of the center.

The purported purpose of the meetings (which are only being held because Commissioner Bill Ganz insisted on it) is for the commissioners to gather resident input for the 5 year CRA capital improvement plan. This would include plans for Sullivan Park, the Main Beach Parking lot and the other CRA areas.

What is important to me is finding out what is being planned for the Main Beach Parking Lot.

Suggestions for the Main Beach Parking Lot from Keven Klopp, the CRA director, include: Beautification/Modernization Only, Beachfront Park and Integrated Parking, Low Rise Structured Parking, with Community Facilities, with Governmental Facilities, with Commercial Facilities, Amphitheatre. (See his proposal pictures below)

The Director says he wants input from “stakeholders”, and, as everyone in Deerfield Beach has a stake in what happens at our beach, we need to go to this meeting to make sure that there is a cross section of the community represented, and not just the usual lopsided turnout.

It seems that residents and business people, mostly, I imagine, realtors and Chamber of Commerce members, have contacted Mr. Klopp about the parking lot and he asked them to attend the last meeting to voice their preferences. And attend they did! These folks spoke about increasing parking with a garage and were favorable to ideas of commercial development on the lot.

Beach area residents know that there is only a shortage of parking at the beach on certain weather blessed weekends and on holidays, and, no matter how high they stack the garages, that will not change. People, who only go to the beach at those times, really believe there is never enough parking at the beach as their experience of the beach is only on those beautiful weather and warm water days, the rest of us see the mostly empty lot most days of the year.

The speakers had no data to back up their feeling that a garage was needed, and no facts about cost and revenue, all they had was general feeling that we need it.

Mr. Klopp was not here when the residents of Deerfield Beach told the city loud and clear that they did not want commercial development or a parking garage on the city owned beach lot. 75% (80% in some precincts) of the voters said no to the proposal. But like a bad penny, the idea keeps coming back.

The thing we need to keep in mind here for any change is WHO BENEFITS! Let’s make sure it is us, the residents.

We have at least one commissioner who wants to use the lot for a big brand new fire station funded with CRA money.

CRA Director. Klopp is a young ambitious professional looking to his future, and I understand that he wants to increase his chances of getting a job as a city manager sometime by having a lot of projects on his resume, but as we have seen in the past, what is good for the professional resume does not always translate into what is good for the people who live in Deerfield Beach. Let’s make sure what he wants is what WE want.

The commission and the CRA board SAY they want to do what the residents would like, so if you want input into what should be done, if anything, to the main beach parking lot, you need to go to these meetings. If not, the only people who will go are the people who have something to gain from developing the parking lot, and those will be the only people the commission will hear.

Attend the meetings, find out what they want to do, and let them know whether you agree or not. 



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