By Dan Moffett
The running joke in Briny Breezes during the last month has been that the town might soon be able to score a huge windfall by investing in telescopes.
A nudist group was pushing Palm Beach County to allow a clothing-optional beach at Gulfstream Park, just south of Briny Breezes. What an opportunity for Brinyites to cater to the needs of the throngs of curious onlookers that surely would be coming.
But dreams of imminent prosperity died with the joke on June 8 when the county’s Tourist Development Council shot down the idea, telling members of the Freedom Beach Initiative that their proposal wasn’t right for the location.
County Mayor Paulette Burdick, who sits on the council board, said the park is “family-friendly,” with playgrounds for children, so that means clothing has to remain mandatory.
“I didn’t think it would get too far with the tourism board,” said Briny Alderman Bobby Jurovaty. “It was never going to happen.”
Council President Sue Thaler said, all jokes aside, there wasn’t any support for the idea in Briny. “I don’t know anyone who was in favor of it,” she said.
Karl Dickey, who championed the proposal to the county, said his grass-roots group will continue lobbying officials for a nude beach somewhere. Dickey said he has a half-dozen other prospective sites in mind and that public opinion about clothing-free beach-going is slowly changing.
“We need county officials to get past the old myth that clothing- optional beaches are not family friendly,” he said. “The only people that would say clothing-optional beaches are not family friendly are those that have not been to one.”