Lantana: Parks’ lease agreement puts spark into fireworks budget

By Margie Plunkett
and Tim O’Meilia
Lantana’s Ocean Avenue bridge closed for two years — bummer.
    Lantana’s lease of sections of two parks for two years — cause for fireworks. Literally.
    The new $33.2 million Ocean Avenue bridge will not only be wider and safer for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and fishermen, it will also stuff cash into Lantana’s bank account and make the Fourth of July more spectacular.
    The town will pocket $654,000 over the next two years for renting the east ends of Sportsman’s and Bicentennial parks to the building contractor for a staging area for construction material and equipment.
    And the construction company will furnish a barge to launch fireworks for the town’s 2012 and 2013 Independence Day celebrations.
    The Town Council approved the agreement Nov. 14 with GLF Construction of Miami. The firm is expected to begin moving materials in after the Dec. 20 effective date of the lease.
    The bridge is scheduled to be closed from mid-March until October 2013. The new bridge will include a $654,000 fishing pier running under the Lantana end.
    GLF must keep vehicles and equipment from interfering with the public boat ramps and the parking areas west of the ramps in Sportsman’s Park and from blocking any of the parking spaces in Bicentennial Park. The eastern entrances to both parks may be closed.
    Council member Lynn Moorhouse gave kudos to Town Manager Michael Bornstein, who negotiated the deal with both Palm Beach County and the construction firm. Although GLF pays the rent technically, the money comes from the county as part of the construction contract.
    Bornstein has said the money will be used to refurbish the parks once the bridge is completed.
    Moorhouse credited Bornstein for boosting the lease payments from an initial offer of $250,000 annually, adding, “He busted their chops and got a free barge for the next two July Fourths.”

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