Addressing an enthusiastic crowd of over 750 business and community leaders in attendance for her annual State of the City speech at the Palm Beach County Convention Center, West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel asked the community to believe and then act on projects which will uplift the City both socially and economically.
Citing two recent successes, City Center and the new West Palm Beach waterfront, both of which started years ago with a belief that the downtown could be revitalized and that the intracoastal could be made open to the public as a world-class attraction, Mayor Frankel announced the next major undertaking…the transformation of the Coleman Park neighborhood. “No longer is it acceptable that the people who live in Coleman Park… many of whom are children, elderly, and people who work as nurse’s aides and hotel maids….remain in the dark shadow of our great city” the Mayor stated as she noted that the plan was a multipronged approach to turn the area around. “One of the keys to this plan is the creation of more home ownership because it brings safety, vibrancy and stability to the neighborhood.”
A multi million dollar allotment of federal neighborhood stabilization dollars is being used to build new homes and renovate distressed properties. A partnership with the Workforce Alliance which will provide area residents the opportunity to learn construction skills and participate in building these homes. A multitude of programs designed to enhance life skills and provide new opportunities will be provided by a variety of organizations. One highlight of the project, sponsored by the Quantum Foundation, is the installation of a system providing free Wi-Fi internet access to residents.
The Mayor said the rebirth of Coleman Park should go beyond the City’s Efforts and must be embraced by the community. She issued a call to action” I am asking everyone to add your name to the list and be part of an amazing dream come true. Donate a computer, become a mentor, help fix up a property, offer a job “. She also announced that one of the greatest figures ever from the sports area will be participating in the volunteer program…” Recently we took Hank Aaron on a tour of Coleman Park. He was inspired by both the people and the project and has committed to be a part of this historic transition”. More information on how to volunteer or participate is available at wpb.org.
The Mayor also talked about numerous innovative businesses which have opened in the city prospering in tough economic times including Lockheed Martin, SV Microwave, EnerFuel, Rybovich, and Wafer World…”Now millions of dollars are available for training and employee hiring thanks to the Federal American Recovery Act”…and added “West Palm Beach is maintaining and upgrading our physical infrastructure with 129 capital projects underway throughout the city creating hundreds of jobs for private industry….one example of how this government is stimulating our local economy.” The Mayor also recognized the recent tragedy in Haiti and asked that everyone remember those affected in prayer.
By citing the examples of City visions that have come true and noting multiple businesses that took calculated risks that are now paying financial dividends the Mayor hoped to inspire the community to believe in their own power to effect change and to take action to improve their own lives and along with it, the community’s as well. She summed it up in her closing remark from the German philosopher Goethe “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”