Election 2016: Concerns over overdevelopment, unresponsiveness bring voters out in Lake Worth

Signs in front of the First Congregational Church in Lake Worth, where polling took place. (Photo by Hannah Winston)
Signs in front of the First Congregational Church in Lake Worth, where polling took place. (Photo by Hannah Winston)

By Hannah Winston

In Lake Worth, there were no major lines throughout the morning at any of the downtown or surrounding polling places. While the presidential primaries have put Florida in the national spotlight, the posters and supporters for the local election for the city outnumbered familiar names like Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Todd Townsend, a 7-year Lake Worth resident, said he’s supporting Frank McAlonan, Diane Jacques — who is Townsend’s neighbor — and Ryan Hartman. He said he’s worried about “career politicians” who don’t listen to residents.

“We have career politicians in our small town and we want to keep it a small town,” he said.

(More live coverage of today’s election — get news from all over Palm Beach County.)

Townsend, a self-described green anarchist, said environmental issues such as Lake Okeechobee discharges are what continue to bring him out to the polls.

As far as the primaries, Townsend said he voted for Bernie Sanders.

“I like Hillary. I’ve always liked Hillary. But I’m voting for Bernie,” he said.

A woman, who didn’t want to give her name, said two of her biggest reasons for getting out to vote are overdevelopment and building heights in Lake Worth. In her 11 years as a resident, she said she’s seen private companies try and come in and build up the city and is worried the current officials may make the beaches private with all the development.

“We want to keep our beaches public,” she said.

Lake Worth Vice Mayor invites supporters to his ‘victory party’

Maxwell thank you card 1LAKE WORTH — To thank his supporters, Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell mailed more than 300 thank you cards. The cards also invited them to a victory party on Tuesday at Blue Front BBQ to celebrate his re-election.

Was that a little premature?

“We always refer to these parties as victory parties,” Maxwell said. “No one goes into Election Day thinking they’re going to lose. There’s always a get-together after the election. More than 150 people donated to my campaign. How else do you get the word out?”

Scott MaxwellMaxwell, a four-term incumbent running for the District 1 seat, has raised $31,360, according to his campaign treasurer’s report, second to Commissioner Andy Amoroso, who has tallied $31,605.

The cards, Maxwell said, are just an organized effort to make sure his supporters know there will be a gathering after the polls close.

Maxwell invite 4“Sometimes people don’t get the message,” he said.

Ryan Hartman, Maxwell’s opponent, did not return a call seeking comment.

Maxwell said no one should be offended that he mailed victory party cards before the final results are in. “There is no sinister, subtle message here,” he said. “I guess the difference this time is I put it in writing and sent out invitations. I’m certainly not going to invite people to my defeat party.”

Please follow me on Twitter @KevinDThompson1 or feel free to call at 561-820-4573 or email me at kthompson@pbpost.com with story ideas, comments and really nice places to listen to live jazz.

Shelter for single homeless women expanding in Lake Worth

A rendering of a second Burckle Place location that will be built on South J Street.
A rendering of a second Burckle Place shelter that will be built on South J Street.

LAKE WORTH — Burckle Place, a temporary shelter for single homeless women who have fallen on hard times, is expanding.

The Lord’s Place is building a second facility adjacent to the existing Burckle Place on South J Street. There will be a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Look for my Q&A with with Diane Stanley, CEO of the Lord’s Place, on mypalmbeachpost.com in the coming days. Also check out full coverage of the groundbreaking next week.

Please follow me on Twitter @KevinDThompson1 or feel free to call at 561-820-4573 or email me at kthompson@pbpost.com with story ideas, comments and really nice places to listen to live jazz.

 

Looking for a Spring Break beach party?

Lake Worth BeachLAKE WORTH — Are you ready for a beach party?

Lake Worth has one for you.

On March 21 the city and The Nine Society host the kickoff to Spring Break Concert at Lake Worth Beach. There will be live entertainment featuring such acts as Uproot Hootenanny, Octo Gato, Justin Enco and the Poor Life Decisions Band.

The party is from noon to 8 p.m. For more information, call 561-533-7395.

Please follow me on Twitter @KevinDThompson1 or feel free to call at 561-820-4573 or email me at kthompson@pbpost.com with story ideas, comments and really nice places to listen to live jazz.
 

Lake Worth intersections to temporarily close starting tomorrow

All Aboard FloridaLAKE WORTH — Three  city intersections will be temporarily closed as All Aboard Florida crews make construction improvements in the area.

Starting tomorrow, 19th Avenue North and the Florida East Coast Railway and 13th Avenue North will be closed from 7 a.m. until Monday at 6 p.m.

 

17th Avenue North will be closed from Tuesday at 7 a.m. until March 11 at 6 p.m.

All Aboard Florida is a passenger rail project that will connect Miami and Orlando.

 

For more information on the future road closures and a map of traffic detours in the area, visit AllAboardFlorida.com.

Please follow me on Twitter @KevinDThompson1 or feel free to call at 561-820-4573 or email me at kthompson@pbpost.com with story ideas, comments and really nice places to listen to live jazz.

Lawsuit over Lake Worth Casino building put on hold…for now

The Lake Worth CasinoLAKE WORTH — City Commissioners at Tuesday’s meeting delayed finding three parties in default of their contracts over the Lake Worth Casino building in the hopes that a costly lawsuit can be avoided.

Commissioners were poised to declare REG Architects, The Morganti Group and The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania in default until City Attorney Glen Torcivia said recent negotiations have been somewhat successful.

“There has been a lot of progress,” Torcivia said. “There has been some proposed solutions that may bear fruit.”

A default decision was delayed until March 22.

In June 2010, the city hired REG to design the new casino building. Five months later it tapped The Morganti Group to build it, while securing a public construction bond for its work with The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania.

When the building, which cost $6 million, was opened in 2013, it was riddled with issues, including water intrusion, bad drainage, leaking and rusting.

The city withheld final payment and hired construction attorney Michael Kennedy of Ciklin, Lubitz, Martens & O’Connell to help resolve the issue.

“It’s taken three years to fix minor issues,” Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell said. “I find that unconscionable.”

Check back at mypalmbeachpost.com for more on this story.

Please follow me on Twitter @KevinDThompson1 or feel free to call at 561-820-4573 or email me at kthompson@pbpost.com with story ideas, comments and really nice places to listen to live jazz.

 

 

 

Hudson Holdings gets final OK for $60 million Gulfstream Hotel project

LAKE WORTH — The Gulfstream Hotel is coming back from the dead.

After a marathon discussion, the Historic Resources Preservation Board by a unanimous vote at a special meeting tonight, approved Hudson Holdings‘ major site plan to restore the historic hotel, built in the 1920s, to its former glory.

Vice Chair Darrin Engel had to recuse himself because of a conflict.

The Gulfstream Hotel located at 1 Lake Ave in Lake Worth.
The Gulfstream Hotel located at 1 Lake Ave in Lake Worth.

City Commissioners have already approved key zoning changes to move the $60 million project forward. Tonight’s vote by the Historic Resources board represents the final vote Hudson Holdings needed before starting work on the 91-year-old hotel.

During presentations by the city and representatives for Hudson Holdings, everything from landscaping to where the buildings will be situated to how overflow parking will be addressed, were discussed.

Check back later at mypalmbeachpost.com for this developing story.

Please follow me on Twitter @KevinDThompson1 or feel free to call at 561-820-4573 or email me at kthompson@pbpost.com with story ideas, comments and really nice places to listen to live jazz.

 

 

 

$60 million Gulf Stream project up for final vote tonight

LAKE WORTH —  Psst….got a second?

The Gulfstream Hotel located at 1 Lake Ave in Lake Worth.
The Gulfstream Hotel located at 1 Lake Ave in Lake Worth. 

Let me tell you something. Perhaps you’ve heard. Maybe not. A Delray Beach developer — Hudson Holdings — wants to restore the Gulf Stream Hotel to its heavenly grandeur for roughly $60 million.

The City Commission has already approved key zoning changes to allow the project to inch forward, a move that pleased many growth-seeking residents while irking those who fear the project will ruin Lake Worth’s small town charm.

The final vote comes tonight from the city’s Historic Resources Preservation Board at a special meeting scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Up for discussion: the site plan. If approved, Hudson Holdings says the hotel can be restored within 15 months.

Still, there’s a little lawsuit issue that needs to be resolved. Three residents — including former commissioner Jo-Ann Golden — recently sued the city, claiming commissioners were in violation of the city charter that states building heights can exceed 45 feet.

The city, however, says it’s confident the suit won’t slow — or derail — the project.

Please follow me on Twitter @KevinDThompson1 or feel free to call at 561-820-4573 or email me at kthompson@pbpost.com with story ideas, comments and really nice places to listen to live jazz.