At its Feb. 10, 2016, regular board meeting, the Solid Waste Authority (SWA) of Palm Beach County Governing Board approved seven projects totaling $500,000 for Blighted and Distressed Property Clean-up and Beautification Grants. The recipients include:
- The city of Belle Glade's Belle Glade received $107,445 to demolish, recycle, haul and dispose of all remaining structures of the city of Belle Glade’s old water treatment plant at 1016 W. Canal St. S. This facility was closed when the county built the Regional Water Treatment Plant in 2008 and was abandoned when the city’s water and sewer operations were assumed by the Glades Utility Authority in 2009. The city of Belle Glade will be responsible for maintaining the property with current staffing and equipment after the demolition is complete.
- The city of Boynton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency's Heart of Boynton Neighborhood Improvement Project received $62,310.25 for a project that will focus on three aspects to further the implementation of the Heart of Boynton CRA Plan:
- Sara Sims Expansion and Redevelopment involves demolishing an existing 1,072-square-foot blighted structure at 909 N. Seacrest Blvd. and removing 4,000 square feet of asphalt parking lot. The building was constructed in the 1970s and is highly susceptible to loitering and illegal dumping.
- Redevelopment of NE 4/5th Avenues involves clearing the nonnative and invasive species from CRA-owned land on the block of NE 4th Avenue and NE 5th Avenue. This improvement will enhance public safety by clearing out undergrowth and will prevent loitering and vagrancy.
- City Public Works Façade Improvement involves replacing fencing and fence screening; pressure cleaning and painting the exterior wall; repairing the irrigation system on the perimeter of the site; and installing native, drought-tolerant plants along the perimeter of the city’s Public Works site.
These projects will recycle the construction and other debris (concrete block, asphalt, wood, fensing, irrigation piping, etc.) to the extent possible. The vacant lots will be planted with sod, which also will stabilize the soil from storm runoff and wind.
- The city of Delray Beach's Demolition and Clearance Program received $63,200 to assist in the cleanup or beautification of distressed, blighted or otherwise impacted properties to maintain safe, habitable and viable neighborhoods through the Demolition and Clearance Program. Funds will be distributed on condemned properties or properties deemed unsafe in areas with more than 50 percent low-to-moderate-income households to demolish structures; remove demolition products, rubble and other debris; remove junk vehicles and scrap materials; remove environmental contaminants or treat for improvements for commercial/residential units; and make improvements for future development.
- The city of Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency's Delray Beach CRA Demolition received $51,701.66 to demolish four blighted properties, which have been purchased by the city of Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency in its continued effort to eliminate slum and blighted influences in the West Atlantic Neighborhood. All four properties will be part of an ongoing assemblage of land that may be redeveloped into mixed use developments
- The city of Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Agency's Armory Art Annex/Lake Worth Community Arts Center Exterior Improvements and Perimeter Fencing received $72,700 to make improvements to the exterior of the Historic Shuffleboard Court Property, 1121 Lucerne Ave., which is in the heart of Lake Worth’s redevelopment area. These improvements are to mitigate the amount of trash at the site and to create a more welcoming experience for residents and visitors. Specific improvements include the addition of 450 linear feet of decorative perimeter fencing and gate around the former shuffleboard court area and 160 linear feet of vegetation covered fencing between the property and the railroad tracks. Additional improvements include the removal of an obsolete irrigation system, removal of old/dead plants and planting of drought-resistant, low-maintenance ground covering.
- The city of Riviera Beach's The Cunningham Park Revitalization Project received $99,070 to revitalize Cunningham Park to foster a greater sense of place, offer safer neighborhoods and provide an overall stronger and more beautiful community. Specific improvements in this park revitalization include entrance feature with new perimeter fencing; pavilions; tot-lot with new playground equipment; concrete trail; basketball courts; paved activity space; restrooms and drinking fountains; benches; trash receptacles; bike racks; greenspace play areas; shade trees and irrigation; and site lighting and security cameras. The park shall be maintained by the ciity’s Parks and Recreation Department.
- The city of Riviera Beach Community Redevelopment Agency's Riviera Beach Heights Gateway Project Park received $44,646 to assist the city of Riviera Beach CRA with recapturing a blighted and distressed property that has the potential to serve as the gateway anchor feature into one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city. The CRA believes that by creating this signature project, Riviera Beach Heights Gateway Pocket Park, it will catalyze other adjacent revitalization and provide a safer, healthier and more aesthetically pleasing environment for the area residents.
The SWA Governing Board approved the Blighted and Distressed Property Clean-Up And Beautification Grant back in February 2015 as an additional benefit from revenues generated from the supplemental waste used to fill the excess capacity at Renewable Energy Facility 2. Five hundred thousand dollars were available to local governments to assist in the cleanup or beautification of distressed, blighted or otherwise impacted properties in Palm Beach County. Municipalities, community development or redevelopment districts, special districts or other governmental entities within Palm Beach County could apply. Applications could have been for multiple projects; however, funding is approved on an annual basis by the SWA Governing Board with no guarantee of future funding of projects for additional years.