SleepOut set for United Methodist Church of the Palm Beaches tonight

SO 16 Armando
Armando Fana and The Lord’s Place CEO Diana Stanley with SleepOut 2016 mascot “Sleepy the Sheep.”

The Lord’s Place ninth annual SleepOut event to bring awareness of homelessness will feature West Palm Beach Director of Housing and Community Development Armando Fana to sing John Lennon’s Imagine. It’s part of a program that is the centerpiece of the SleepOut, to be held at the United Methodist Church of the Palm Beaches at 6 tonight.

Fana will join others in the program, including The Lord’s Place Chief Program Officer Daniel Gibson, who in a previous career was a professional actor/singer, along with The Lord’s Place Director of Human Resources Jan Phillips, whose voice has been featured at each of the SleepOut events, as well as clients and additional staff members and community members including Legends Radio hosts and cabaret singers Jill and Rich Switzer.

For info about SleepOut and how to participate, visit www.SleepOut2016.org

 

West Palm may cut downtown lien to allow new apartments

Evernia lot
The property is across from the upcoming All Aboard Florida station and a few blocks from city hall.

Making way for an 8-story downtown apartment building and garage, the city commission is considering forgiving $203,500 in liens that had accumulated on the property.

The property at 427 Evernia St. first was cited in 2006, for being in disrepair, needing paint and for graffiti. The warehouse in question was demolished in 2009 and the site is now a vacant lot.

New owners plan a 316-unit apartment building, which the city administration says “will improve a blighted area downtown.”

The commission was to vote Monday to release the liens and just charge a $5,000 administrative fee. The vote has been continued until a future commission meeting.

 

 

This key West Palm rail crossing is closing for four days. Here’s how to get around.

Work to lay railroad track for All Aboard Florida’s Brightline passenger rail service will block Okeechobee Boulevard for four days in May.

(Bill Ingram / The Palm Beach Post)
(Bill Ingram / The Palm Beach Post)

Brightline is laying a second line of track along the Florida East Coast right-of-way, just west of Okeechobee’s interesection with Quadrille Boulevard. Eastbound and westbound lanes of Okeechobee will be closed from 8 p.m. Friday, May 13 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 17.

Workers will be on-site 24 hours a day during this time.

As part of the work, the company also is making safety upgrades as part of a miles-long “quiet zone,” silencing train horns at railroad crossings from West Palm Beach to Boca Raton.

“All Aboard Florida worked closely with the City of West Palm Beach and Town of Palm Beach to determine the schedule and closure details,” spokeswoman Ali Soule said. “We collectively decided this plan would be the least impactful and less confusing for the public.”

Read more about the work here.

We’ve put together a helpful map with an alternate route and key spots to avoid to help you navigate the construction.

Aside from this route to help you better navigate downtown, we also suggest taking Belvedere Road to the south and Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard to the north.

Protective deck to cap West Palm law building hit by brick avalanche

This morning a crane will lower a protective deck onto the downtown law building hit by an avalanche of bricks from the neighboring apartment building two weeks ago.

The deck will protect the law offices of William A. Price, at 320 Fern St., from further damage as workers pull away more of the Alexander Lofts’ buckling brick facade.

Workers build platform to be hoisted on top of William Price P.A. , before a crane will hoisting it onto the top of William Price P.A., law office next to Alexander Lofts on Fern Street downtown West Palm Beach, March 18, 2016. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)
Workers build platform to be hoisted on top of William Price P.A. , before a crane will hoisting it onto the top of William Price P.A., law office next to Alexander Lofts on Fern Street downtown West Palm Beach, March 18, 2016. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)

 

Bill Price, who with his law firm colleagues emerged scraped but alive, said that laborers worked 24/7 to craft the platform, which a crane is scheduled to lower onto his building at 8 a.m.

Four people were injured in the partial collapse of the 90-year-old building’s facade.

Lawyer Dan Britto partially separated his shoulder when he dove under a desk as the roof collapsed. Three paralegals who suffered what were described as minor injuries are out on Worker’s Comp, including one with a knee hurt while climbing out through the debris, Price said Thursday.

The paralegals were “literally in shock,” he said. “One was found walking in circles.”

Price said he’s lucky it has not rained since the hundreds of falling bricks left a hole like “a Grand Canyon” in the offices. He hasn’t been able to make repairs because of the danger of more falling bricks.

He’s not sure if his building can be salvaged but the walls are sound enough to support the protective deck, he was told.

Meanwhile, the firm is set up in temporary quarters but the accident remains very much with the employees, he said. If there’s a loud noise, like someone shutting a door, he said, “people jump up.”

“I have great admiration for our veterans in combat,” he added. “I’m just lucky I’m alive.”

 

West Palm rule encourages rooftop parking murals

Painted+deck
A rooftop parking deck in Miami.

With high-rises springing up downtown, West Palm’s city staff is looking to improve architectural aesthetics from an often overlooked perspective — from above.

The city commission Monday approved a proposal to allow rooftop parking decks as long as developers adorned them with murals or trees.
The decks would either have to have 30 percent of the surface covered with trees or other irrigated plantings or screening structures such as trellises, or they’d have to be entirely covered with an artistic design, which would be coated for waterproofing and sun resistance. If they chose that scene-from-above option, they’d have to compensate for the lack of rooftop landscaping by adding more at ground level.
The design wouldn’t reduce a building’s other public art requirements.

New rail crossing considered to help rush hour traffic cut through downtown

012116+WPB+Okeechobee+001
Driving downtown on Okeechobee Boulevard, or trying to.

West Palm officials hearing an earful about traffic tie-ups don’t have all the answers. But they are looking at one option that might ease rush hour congestion for commuters.

They’re asking the Florida Department of Transportation to consider adding a crossing to the Tri-Rail tracks off Australian Ave.

Right now, a lot of morning commuters take Okeechobee Boulevard to northbound Australian Avenue and then turn east on Banyan Boulevard to get downtown. But Banyan has become quite a bottleneck.

rendering+3002
Rendering of the planned Transit-Oriented Development, known as the T-O-D. The contemplated crossing would be on the far left, cutting through from Australian Boulevard to Fern Street.

So the thinking is to add a crossing south of Banyan and the huge Transit-Oriented Development that’s being developed. That way, many commuters could turn off Australian and cross the tracks at Fern Street, without having to go all the way to Banyan.

Not a panacea for downtown traffic woes but it could provide relief, officials say — much needed at a time when a trainload of development is on the way downtown.