The Coastal Star

Delray Beach: Promenade progress shows in beach walkway

By Jane Smith
The beach promenade work is progressing, evidenced in the tricolor “waves” in the sidewalk on the southern half of the municipal beach.
    The street-side wave is tan concrete; the middle wave sports a chocolate brown color. The wave near the beach and under the shower fixtures has shells embedded in the tan concrete to prevent slipping.
    The contractor is about halfway finished with the $3.1 million promenade project in Delray Beach, aiming for a late summer opening.
    New smart parking meters are installed at the south end of the beach, from Casuarina Road north to Boston’s on the Beach. After a few weeks of free parking, beachgoers will have to pay the $1.50 hourly rate.
    The work zone has shifted north between the Marriott hotel to Thomas Street with underground piping for utility cables and backfilling for new showers and fountains in this area.
    The city added a third Downtown Trolley route for those choosing to park in the city garages.
    For questions about parking during the construction, call Jorge Alarcon at 243-7000, ext. 4112.

Benches, plaques won’t return
    In early July, the City Commission decided that the existing beach benches with their plaques would not return. They all have been removed and stored. The 68 owners will each be contacted and offered the return of the bench and its plaque in exchange for a free, inscribed brick near the flagpole at Atlantic Avenue. When possible, the benches may be used in other city parks.
    The old plaques have six or seven different designs and the new promenade has space for only 50 benches, said Jeff Suiter of consultant EDSA, which designed the project and is overseeing construction. The old plaques could be attached to the new benches for a few years, but they would leave a darkened patch when removed, Suiter told commissioners. How dark, he did not know.
    Interim City Manager Neal de Jesus pressed for a decision that evening.
    “We need to come up with a solution tonight. We are dealing with people on a daily basis,” he said. “We need to take emotions out of the decision while giving respect for those who have passed. We need to do what’s best for the city.”
    The vote was 3-2 with Vice Mayor Jim Chard and Commissioner Mitch Katz voting to keep the benches. Chard requested the vote. At a prior meeting, commissioners had reached a consensus that the plaques could be reused on the new benches, as suggested by Katz.
New trash containers, bike racks and benches will be installed the second week of August.
    “There is not a fair way to do this for the people who come next,” Mayor Cary Glickstein said. “The honorific way is to offer a free brick at the flagpole.”
    For questions about the benches and plaques, the city urges people to call Isaac Kovner at 243-7000, ext. 4119.

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