Friday, November 29, 2013

An answer from City Manager Burgess Hanson

... I am sorry for the late reply. I completely agree that these improvements are needed. They have been discussed. Unfortunately there are no available funds for the sidewalk project right now. The City Commission and staff are looking at alternatives ways to fund the sidewalk project.

The CRA funds are not eligible for either project because they are outside the legal boundaries. We were able to utilize FDOT monies for the roadway/sidewalk by the Embassy Suites. It was part of a storm drainage project. We were unable to extend the project to the north where you described.

The interior of the restrooms will be addressed. I apologize for the condition. Some of the major improvements to the building will have to be repaired at a future time when the money is appropriated for the facility. I will have Facilities Division address the minor issues.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Letter from a Beach Resident

This was sent to me from a long time Deerfield Beach resident with permission to post:

November 26, 2013
Burgess Hanson, City Manager, Deerfield Beach, FL

Dear Mr. Hanson:

I am writing to you regarding city improvements sorely needed on beach property between the completed pavers near the Cove Beach Club and the Embassy Suites. The sidewalk on Ocean Drive between 6th Street and 10th Street is an eyesore.  Not a welcoming site for the many anticipated tourists for the 2014 season.

Specifically, I have 2 main concerns:
 1)   the sidewalk on the east side of Ocean Drive should have pavers, just like the rest of the sidewalk north (to the pier) and south (to Embassy Suites)

 2)   The public bathrooms at 7th Street and Ocean Drive are a disgrace. A number of years ago I wrote a letter voicing my concerns over the rundown and, frankly, disgusting appearance of these bathrooms. New doors were installed which are quite ugly. The sinks were matched to these doors and they are totally rusting out. The automatic dryer is rusty and barely works. I won’t even go into the mirror issue! If you go into the ladies room (and probably the men’s also) you will understand my concerns.

If CRA funds are appropriate for addressing the issues above, this would be a highly visible improvement to our community. If CRA funds are not available, I am sure that the city of Deerfield Beach can find the small sum of money required to enhance our beach area as requested above.

The beach in Deerfield is a beautiful area. We are all proud of our community and do our best to maintain our properties. Money to add pavers and remodel our outmoded bathhouse would be money well spent to keep Deerfield Beach a world class area.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

You Can Help


Here’s a chance to find out what you know about sea level rise and help an FAU PhD student. Read Betsy Roberts’ article below and then fill out the survey form here:   go to www.kbolter.com  or directly to the survey:   https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1inxk0-KQ3-nl2UrXnRz2j2H_gONuZjJ7jdTuF_G726M/viewform

For your information here is the new FEMA Flood Zone map.  Just zoom in (scroll button or + - buttons) click anywhere on the map and you will see the flood designations for that area.  http://bcgis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/OnePane/basicviewer/index.html?appid=0b1b5ffc6f8440f9ab23d688bb79f063

 
Deerfield Beach, Coconut Creek

agree to assist with sea-level survey

  By Elizabeth Roberts Sun Sentinel Staff Writer    

 Ever see the photograph of a polar bear clinging to a tiny piece of ice amid a great ocean and wonder what you can do to stem sea level rise? A local Ph.D. candidate wants to give every Broward County resident that chance.

Recently, Deerfield Beach and Coconut Creek put out an online call for participation in a survey on the issue.

They agreed to assist with a survey requested by Coral Springs resident Keren Bolter, who is on the cusp of a Ph.D. in geosciences from Florida Atlantic University. The university’s research department is helping with the survey.  

Bolter will use the data for a doctoral thesis comparing the perceived risk of sea level rise with real data. Her goal is to find out if people are concerned — and whether they should be.

 “Why are people buying property at 2 feet above sea level when the sea level is projected to rise up to 2 feet by the year 2060?” she said. “Inland areas think they are safe, but they don’t realize the water comes up through the porous ground.”

Bolter knows of what she speaks. She recently gave a talk for TEDxMiami about the misconceptions related to sea level rise that was later broadcast on a National Public Radio affiliate. The information, Bolter said, is vital to helping planners and emergency personnel identify where people are at greatest   risk.

But of 30 Broward cities she contacted, only Deerfield Beach and Coconut Creek have agreed to help. Ironically, she said, those are among the Broward communities with perhaps the least to worry about.

 “In general, the elevations in Broward County go from north to south, from high to low. Deerfield Beach, in terms of elevation, is close to 10 feet higher than Fort Lauderdale,” Bolter said.

Bolter said she is hoping to get about 1,000 survey respondents.

The survey is available at  www.kbolter.com    through Dec. 31.    

Elizabeth Roberts can be reached at: eroberts@tribune.com

 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Deerfield Beach's Sullivan Park


Kudos to the commissioners who voted to go ahead with the Sullivan Park renovations.  I have no idea why Mayor Robb would vote against improving this park which has a unique setting, a short walk from the Cove Shopping Center, also a short walk from the beach, right on the Intracoastal.  Ideal for boating, fishing and relaxing. 
 
Maybe she doesn’t realize that the money to fix it up will be CRA funds which must be used in the area; the CRA funds will be supplemented by a marine grant of over a million to improve the dock area which will have to be paid back if not used for this project.  This is a no brainer.  THE MONEY CAN’T BE USED IN THE REST OF THE CITY!  The funds are generated from increased property values in the CRA area and must be spent in the CRA area.

The City used CRA money to fix up everything else in the area first, (see the projects by clicking on the CRA area link below) and now this little gem of a park will have its day.  This park has long been a favorite of fisherfolk and kayakers but its rough condition was not conducive to picnickers or other kinds of recreation. 

Way, way back when, the Woman’s Club of Deerfield Beach donated money for the park’s upkeep and a classy brass plaque. For a while it was used often by residents, but the park has had minimal upkeep, the plaque was stolen and the park fell into disuse.  The Riverview Restaurant closed and became an overgrown eyesore. 

The city dropped the ball on this park as it had done on the Cove Shopping Center.  With CRA funding the shopping center is now a busy focus of activity, as the park will be when it is complete. 
Because of CRA funds it was possible to buy the Riverview property and because of the extra area the property added to Sullivan Park, it became possible to envision and create a marine based, attractive park (See link at the top).

The CRA Tax Increment Funds may only be used in the designated CRA area.  This is a link to the CRA area map: 

When the County started the CRA concept the then Deerfield Beach Commission chose this area because improvements there would increase the property taxes and those increases (tax income over and above the rate at the time the CRA was started) are income for the CRA.  Over time the tax increases (some of which would have gone to the County but stay in the City because of the CRA agreement) have funded the improvements you see at the beach area and east of Federal Highway. 
 
We have been able to use millions of dollars in the area that would have gone to the county because of this agreement which was made during the boom days; this kind of CRA is no longer allowed by the County.

As the CRA winds down over the next few years, the remaining income will be used mainly to pay off the bonds which were used for the major projects.  This was smart planning the city got the money up front and used the increased revenue from the result of the projects to pay off the bonds.