Wednesday, November 5, 2014

For a Greener Way

Or, Why you should come to the meeting against a new road on 7th Ave South in Lake Worth, Nov 6th, 6pm
This is 7th Ave South at F Street. Should this really be cleared for a paved road?
[UPDATE: Following this well-attended community meeting, city staff said they are going back to the drawing board for 7th Avenue South. Nice work folks!]

When I went out to knock on doors in the neighborhood surrounding 6th Avenue South yesterdayspreading the word about an attempt to pave a new roadI was reminded of the years I spent in the area working with families in a community garden on 6th Avenue and F Street.

After 8 years of growing fruits, vegetables and community bonds, the land we had worked was bulldozed, in 2007, by the forces of greed and indifference.

One year later the City of Lake Worth would spend millions to renovating the "gateway" corridors to get people from I-95 to the east side of town with a landscaped, whitewashed view of the south side.

It was obvious at the time that the politicians behind the "gateway zoning" plan didn't give a f--k about how people who lived there would be impacted.

But now that plans to pave new roads on the south side of town or underway, the truth of it is an insult added to to injury.

Let's review some of the history in this neighborhood, home to the tragic stories of both Nathaniel Brazill and the ValentM-mn family massacre:

There are over 75 square blocks from "A" Street to Dixie and Lake Ave to 12th Ave South, without a single public park or playground.

From "A" Street to Dixie, there is not a single crosswalk to get across 6th Avenue South.

Over the past 15 years, the Theis & Sons beer distributor was allowed by the city to destroy a small park on the south side of Lake Ave, and then later cut off access to 4th Avenue, effectively creating a 6 block wall for the residents between Lake Ave and 6th Ave South... then move out of town, abandoning their entire facilityempty to this day.

Within the same several years of losing the community garden on F Street, a lot on H Street with one of the biggest ficus trees in town, which we were fighting to make into a park, was also bulldozed and left vacant.

Which brings me to today, and why I am joining with neighbors, as a representative of the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition, to stop the paving of 7th Ave South.

Lake Worth is seeking to use CDBG funds for the paving 7th Ave South in order to accommodate the new development on F Street and 6th Ave South.

But CDBG funds are not supposed to serve the interests of a developer. They are actually mandated by the federal government to assist in improving blighted neighborhoods, with a priority placed on gathering community input before moving forward. Paving a road where it is not desired by the immediately impacted community would, for example, be a misuse of the CDBG funds.

All this brings me to the point of this. We're hoping you can come to join us at 6pm on the corner of A Street and 7th Avenue South.
We will be walking the path of the proposed road with city staff, neighbors and community members. But instead of envisioning what the road will look like (as the city says they plan to do) we will be explaining to the city's representatives what we want. That is most easily summed up as:
  • Improving safety on 6th Avenue by adding crosswalks and a possible traffic light at D Street 
  • Creating a stronger plan to increase public green space, making better use of unpaved avenues for greenway parks with play grounds, trees and gardens

The last thing we need anywhere in Palm Beach County is another paved road.

We lost the community garden, ultimately, because it was on private land that the city was unwilling to purchase as a park. The thing about these unpaved avenues is that they are already owned by the public. We're just asking to have a say in what happens with them.

I'm hoping you will be there with us.

For a greener way,
-Panagioti Tsolkas
co-chair, PBC Environmental Coalition

11 comments:

Louisse said...

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Xiantal Moore said...

I enjoyed reading this. Thanks for sharing :)

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Lynn Anderson said...

Has anyone heard any more from the city and when they will meet with residents?

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asor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
asor said...

Joining with neighbors, as a representative of the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition.
Very interesting activity.
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asor said...

mandated by the federal government to assist in improving blighted neighborhoods, with a priority placed on gathering community input before moving forward.
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asor said...

Which brings me to today, and why I am joining with neighbors, as a representative of the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition, to stop the paving of 7th Ave South.
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asor said...

The last thing we need anywhere in Palm Beach County is another paved road.

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Dawn Crawford said...

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