The Civic Association’s feature writer Michele Dargan was at the Town Council this week. Here’s her summary of the major news.
Mayor’s Recognition of the $25 Million in Federal Money for Midtown Beach Restoration
Mayor Gail Coniglio recognized the $25 million in federal money that the town will receive for the restoration of Midtown Beach. The town was notified last week that the money had been approved.
She thanked Gov. Rick Scott for his guidance in helping her navigate the channels that helped secure the funding.
Mayor Coniglio said that she and Coastal Coordinator Rob Weber made two trips to Washington, D. C. to meet with Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson and Congresswoman Lois Frankel. They were instrumental in helping to facilitate this, she said.
She also said Gov. Scott was instrumental in helping the town receive $4 million for the repair and replacement of the jettys that flank each side of the inlet.
Noah Valenstein, secretary of Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection, attended Tuesday’s council meeting.
“On behalf of Gov. Scott, thank you back to each of you,” he said. “Together we work together to achieve things for the environment so that you can have the community you envision 50 or 100 years down the road.”
Town Employee Compensation & Benefit Study Approved
The Town Council unanimously approved an updated scope of services and evaluation criteria, which will be used to develop a Request for Proposals (RFP) to hire a consultant to complete a comprehensive Compensation and Benefits Study. The study will compare the Town of Palm Beach compensation package to what other area municipality and county governments are paying all of their employees, including police, fire, and general government employees.
Update on Royal Poinciana Playhouse and Restaurant
Alexandra Patterson of Up Markets told the Town Council they have signed a letter of intent and are negotiating a lease with an operator to run the restaurant in the Royal Poinciana Playhouse.
Ms. Patterson said they have also had positive conversations with three potential operators and 20 potential partnerships to run the theater, which will be cultural arts venue. The playhouse has been closed since 2004.
Up Markets will not go forward with the restaurant and will not name the restaurant operator until they have a lease agreement with an operator to run the theater, she said.
“We see this building serving the Palm Beach community and beyond,” she said. “It will be a flexible cultural arts venue with art, film, live theater ted talks, comedy shows, jazz nights, musical performances, ballet, opera … a wide variety that keeps the doors open and the lights on for 365 days a year.”
Councilman Lew Crampton said, “I think the Town Council needs more specifics in order to come in on the side of this project more robustly. Clearly that may be the nicest spot in town for a restaurant, but that needs to proceed in tandem with the solution for the theater.”