At the Deerfield Beach CRA public workshop last evening (Thursday, 1/20) the Commissioners and CRA Director Keven Klopp got their wish. People showed up to give their opinions, there were very few empty seats. And give their opinions they did!! In no uncertain terms, loud and clear over and over they stated “NO GARAGE on the Main Beach Parking Lot”.
We learned that there is $5.8 million in the CRA budget not designated and over the next 5 years, there will be $2.1 million TIF money coming in a year so we will have $16.3 million to spend on the CRA district.
The first resident to speak energized the whole room when she said “Beautify the Main Beach Parking Lot but do not put a garage on it”. The entire audience erupted in loud applause. Director Klopp’s interjection of: “It would only be one story under current regulations” met a chorus of “no ways” from most of the audience. We were warned by one speaker that there would be “turmoil” in the city if a garage were to be considered.
The consensus on Sullivan Park was that it would be a good use of the CRA funds to buy the Riverview Restaurant property and make the entire parcel a pleasant marine oriented park.
Residents were very much in favor of spending the CRA money to improve infrastructure. Using CRA money to improve the infrastructure of the CRA area would free up city money for infrastructure improvements in the rest of the city.
Speaker after speaker spoke about why they live in Deerfield Beach:
“We bought because the city said no to building on the beach parking lot; we don’t need more people on the beach”.
“When I saw a for sale sign on a certain Deerfield Beach house I knew it was right for me”.
“I chose to live here because it is a small hometown type of town”.
“We like the small, friendly, safe, nice feeling; this is why we are here”.
“Keep the integrity of the town”.
“I love the beach; I love to walk the whole area”.
“I like what we have, just make it nicer”.
“I have lived all over the world and Deerfield Beach is by far the best place, when what has already been started (Cove Shopping Center, Pier improvements, Hillsboro Blvd. improvements) is finished it will be spectacular ”.
They spoke about what should be built or what should be improved:
Other than a Chamber of Commerce representative who said “A vertical garage would give us more green space, and if not a parking garage on the lot then what?” - and, a suggestion to put a one story garage underground on the beach lot, and a businessman who wanted to hire a consultant (perhaps himself) to do a study to see if we need a parking garage, everyone who spoke about the beach parking lot said that it should be updated a bit but essentially stay the way it is.
It was said over and over that if the lots are full there is no room on the beach for more people anyway. Also mentioned was the parking garage on A1A which has lots of room except on days such as Founder’s day (the last time it was full according to one man who said he looked into the use of that garage).
Some other suggestions:
Put all the wires at the beach underground; get rid of the poles,
Improve the curbing,
Improve the dangerous pedestrian conditions on the S curve especially by the 7-11,
Better sidewalks, and pedestrian facilities,
Put signs in that tell people where parking is, especially the north and south beach locations,
Install bike paths,
Improve trash control,
Build a stairway down to Sullivan Park from off the bridge,
Put a kayak launch area in the park,
Replace rusting parking meters, or devise another system at the beach lot,
Maintain and protect what we have,
Be careful how much the city spends on property, the appraised value is often not the real value which lately is much lower, take a lesson from the overpayment for the Boinis beach strip, we are not using play money,
Move the historic Kester cottage to Sullivan Park,
Make the area more friendly to businesses trying to get permits, businesses can go broke while waiting for the city to approve plans,
Look at the Hillsboro Inlet Park and model Sullivan Park improvements on that,
Buy the Royal Palm motel and make it into a park,
Get rid of the “crack houses” on 20th Avenue,
Buy the old Pal’s Restaurant site and put a garage there,
Put a band shell on the parking lot (did not get audience support, residents were afraid of the noise pollution),
Use CRA money to buy a building and create an Art Museum,
Widen the commercial district,
Don’t invite more business until the businesses we have at the beach are making money and all the vacancies are full,
Don’t allow other projects to take as long as the Hillsboro Streetscape project,
Put the turn lane back by 12th Avenue on Hillsboro Blvd.,
Improve the condition of A1A from Flanagan’s to the Boca line.
Home owners should get something for all the taxes paid, return the parking sticker cost to $50,
Do not turn our beach into Hollywood or Coney Island,
NO band shell in Sullivan Park.
There will be another CRA workshop at the Community Presbyterian Church, SE 5th St. between A1A and 18th Avenue. Address: Briggs Hall, 1920 SE 5th Street Thursday, February 3rd 6:00 pm.
THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT MEETING ALSO make sure to attend, the Commissioners have to know we mean what we say, and my guess is that the overdevelopment crowd will be there in force.