The Coastal Star

Delray Beach: Beach improvement ideas described to commissioners

By Margie Plunkett

The Municipal Beach in Delray Beach would get a new name, pavilion and a sinuous sidewalk under a Beach Property Owners Association master plan that reflects
community input from a November workshop.

The BPOA asked Delray Beach commissioners to accept the proposal at a workshop meeting May 18. Commissioners are not able to take action at workshops, but
Mayor Woodie McDuffie did guide the project to its next step. “It’s time right
now to start it through planning and zoning to get it made something official
so we can get started on it,” he said.

The master plan included short-, moderate-, and long-term projects that commissioners can elect to undertake depending on budget considerations,
according to Andy Katz, who stood in for Bob Currie to present to the panel.
The costs started at nothing and ranged upward. The plan, however, doesn’t
propose the changes immediately, but over time as need and as budget permits.

Now officially called just the municipal beach, the area could gain a new name under the master plan, one that commissioners suggested should result from
community input, possibly from a contest. Bob Ganger of the Preservation Board
suggested it be called the Delray Gleason Beach, according to Katz. Nearby
Sarah Gleason Park is named for the landowner who in 1871 sold the property
along the beach with deed restrictions for what is now the municipal beach,
according to the town’s website.

The plan would replace the pavilion with one designed to pick up historically significant elements harkening back to the 1930s and that would also be echoed
in gazebos. Two pergolas would be added. The plan would open the intersection
of Atlantic and A1A to the beach as much as possible, “turtle lighting
permitting, or not permitting, as the case may be,” Katz said.

Street furniture — such as benches, trash cans and showers — would be replaced to unify the current variety of styles. And Katz said meters should be replaced with a centralized pay station
that greatly reduces the number of mechanisms in the walkway.

Some of the less costly items on the wish list included tasks such as enforcement of rules already in place.

“Thank you for being very sensitive to our budget,” said Commissioner Angelita Gray. “Staff has already started working on some of these items.”

Currie, who couldn’t make it to the meeting, drew praise from several commissioners as well as Katz, who noted that Currie had a hand in just about every aspect of
the plan, including sketching the proposed features.

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