This week's New Times feature details the battle between forward-thinking urban activists and the City of West Palm Beach over how to develop a blighted section of West Palm Beach, Northwood Village. That battle centered around whether or not Publix could be wooed to the neighborhood's planned anchor site. The city claims Publix sniffed and declined. The activists say it was a done deal before Mayor Frankel and her henchmen got involved.
Well, it seems little Lake Worth has gone and done in a matter of months
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what West Palm couldn't accomplish over years. Lake Worth's CRA had no problem getting Publix to agree to build a store in a semi-blighted neighborhood, to provide the city with a new "destination location" -- even though another Publix is already open a mile or so away on Lake Worth Road.
Witness the success of Lake Worth's CRA as detailed on Wes Blackman's blog yesterday. Blackman, who is running for City Commission district 3 this November, has posted elevations of the proposed Publix by Fisher Architects. The Publix would stand on the corner of Dixie Highway and 2nd Avenue, across the street from Compass GLBT Community Center. As Blackman writes:
That is the power of a downtown, you can park once and walk to all your other destinations - or if you're lucky enough to live close to downtown, you can leave your car parked in your drive or on the street and walk/bike anywhere.
The Lake Worth Planning and Zoning board is set to review the Publix plans tonight. Maybe they can avoid the kind of heavy-duty politicking that killed a similar dream in Northwood.