Above, my friend and fellow Hallandale Beach civic activist, Csaba Kulin, at a place that ought to be one of the city's crown jewels and a natural meeting place for the whole community -but isn't: the City of Hallandale Beach's very poorly-maintained North Beach park, with the iconic HB Water Tower and The Beach Club condo towers to his right. He's looking south with Hollywood Beach to his back, in particular, the construction site for The Related Group's 20-story condo project, The Apogee, which is actually in Hollywood. The longstanding rusty eyesores on the public beach that I've previously discussed -last week and many times before The Beachwalk project came on the scene- completely ruins any positive experience you could have, situated as they are right in the middle of the beach. As it happens, Csaba is running for HB City Commission this year precisely because of the longstanding public failure and incompetency of HB City Hall on a whole host of public-policy matters, or to even acknowledge their role in that failure, of which this unappealing public beach is but one of several obvious examples. This is just the tip of the iceberg. When first-time visitors come to the public beach in Hallandale Beach, they often are left to wonder, "If they can find a way to really screw-up a beach, how bad must things be where nobody goes?" Exactly. So what ought to be a source of great civic pride for us is instead the place that is largely avoided when friends and family come to visit and want to be shown around, because it's so embarrassing and unappealing, Especially with Hollywood Beach and Johnson Street nearby. June 2, 2012 photo by South Beach HoosierThought it was time to share my initial thoughts, ruminations and tangents on Wednesday night's Hallandale Beach City Commission meeting re The Beachwalk project, which lasted about four-and-a-half hours.
This will likely be one of several posts on this topic over the next two weeks, until the next City Commission meeting on June 20th, so keep tuned here so you can know exactly what's going on.
Before I get into what I think, here's what's been written thus far since Wednesday, not all of which I necessarily agree are either 100% accurate fact-wise or context-wise, but it's what's out there for now:
Just for the record, I remind anyone reading this who may not know: I'm in favor of the property being used as a hotel, and the reason for that could not be any clearer: we need another first-class hotel in this city to meet the demand that is currently using Hollywood hotels.
Parking so far from where you live is, unfortunately, something I have experience with from the few months I lived in the popular and highly-educated Rogers Park area of Chicago, right off of Lake Michigan, in the mid-1980's. The neighborhood's #1 complaint was the perennial search for a parking spot at night that was not too far away -and lack of a visible police presence.
If anything, their parking lot structure needs to be larger.
Doing that completely lets the city's elected officials and administrators off-the-hook for being so egregiously irresponsible and negligent for YEARS for not only what has been allowed to happen there, but also for what its actual future might be.
It's gotten demonstrably more physically run-down and dirty by the year, which is something that anyone who has spent any amount of time over there knows is true, much less, someone like me, who has been there hundreds of times over the past few years alone, as this blog has documented, with my camera and video-cam in-tow to accurately record the neglect.
I've recorded the decline alright, and unlike HB elected officials and Dept. heads who are actually responsible for the problem, I've actually spoken to other regular beach-goers and the Jeff Ellis lifeguards about what THEY thought about the beach's sad decline, what they've heard, and what they wanted to see in the way of improvements.
Let's be perfectly serious.
He is never seen around here on weekends nor at the beach.
Given that, why would what he thinks actually matter to people who are there all the time, and who actually know a thing or two about its current declining state, especially given his own hand at letting that occur on his watch the past two years despite constantly hearing about how bad it was?
Even the mayor's pals who are in favor of the project and spoke that night, felt it necessary to say what a mess it had become.
That should tell you something!
In my opinion, City Manager Antonio has actually been less-than-useless on this subject, and has actually become an actual obstacle and additional problem to deal with in resolving it, given his ostrich-like behavior and unwillingness to put pressure on the city's employees and engineers who work for him to get on top of things and actually hold them accountable.
Antonio has no reasonable explanation for why he has continually failed the citizens of this city on this crucial subject.
Trust me, in this city, you NEVER see this mayor, this city manager, the DPW manager and 4/5ths of the city commission over at the beach on weekends, not even for even an hour, even though it's an invaluable asset.
Here are some renderings and posts of mine from four years ago re what was then called Beach One Resort, which has already been approved by the City of Hollywood to be 40 stories.
Reminder: I attended 95% of the meetings on this project in Hollywood, which has that iconic design which will be the southern entrance to Hollywood Beach :
As for the clearly negative shade effects of these two towers -plus, The Beach Club towers- on HB's North Beach, you'll notice that nobody-but-nobody said anything about that!
The Second Reading is Wednesday June 20th at 6:30 p.m.