+ Palm Coast is a retirement community, not a business park
Palm Coast has an identity crisis. Is it a retirement/recreational community as envisioned, designed and marketed by ITT Community Development and then implemented under the dynamic leadership of the late Dr. Norman Young and Alan Smolen?
Or shall Palm Coast continue on its downward slide from its beginnings as manifested by the entrepreneurial movement being pushed by the Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise Flagler?
I and many others who relied on the promises of ITT believe it is the former. In fact, we purchased our lot in March 1971 (when Country Cove resembled a forested jungle), and our welcome package from ITT trumpeted this pastoral and bucolic setting; I still have the original bumper sticker proclaiming, “Palm Coast: A new way of living.”
I remember when Palm Coast had one stoplight, and getting around Palm Coast was a pleasure, as opposed to the current traffic nightmare, especially with the exit traffic from Palm Coast Data. Since the mid-1990s, Palm Coast has lost its way as both administrations have pushed entrepreneurship, rarely saying “no” to any proposed development, resulting in overbuilding both residential and commercial properties. We were amazed at the vacancies and the changes when we retired and relocated in 2006.
Our politicians should realize that Palm Coast was envisioned as a service-oriented community. This is clearly demonstrated by the recent service jobs added by the department stores, restaurants and hotels throughout the city. The NIMBY (not in my backyard) reaction is slowly coming to the forefront. Witness the opposition to the Matanzas interchange on I-95, the subdivision expansion at Cypress Knoll and the sub rosa plans for the new City Hall, a proposal which was soundly rejected by the voters and which may have contributed to the defeat of our first mayor.
One of the Flagler County Board of County Commissioners has even proposed a 100,000-square-foot (expanding to 500,000) “spec” building to entice companies to come to the city. Just where will this building be sited and how many variances will be given?
Witness the setback locations and tree buffers for the Palm Coast campus of Daytona State College and the FAA Training Center. Would they be repeated today?
Palm Coast should take a deep breath (given the current budget crunch, this should be fairly easy) and contemplate its future direction.
David W. DiNardi
+ Boccie players should use Linear Park courts
The boccie players at Holland Park have been complaining for years. When the city opened Linear Park a number of years ago, the city installed two boccie courts. They were maintained by city workers for a number of months.
The former head of parks and recreation told the boccie players at Holland Park to use those. They were in the shade almost all day, they were being maintained, and new clay was added. The players at Holland Park balked at going to Linear Park.
Why? They didn’t like it there. Their snowbird friends would not know where they were. They didn’t want to make the move.
It’s time to tell them the city has fine boccie courts in Linear Park. And I’m sure the city can start to maintain these ones again.
+ Note to Palm Coast: Use Players Club for YMCA facility
From the perspective of a 32-year resident of Palm Coast, I’d like to address two issues of utmost importance plaguing our fair city.
Learning that the YMCA will be vacating its facilities at Florida Hospital Flagler saddens me; and to think that the City Council is still intent on building “new digs,” also known as City Hall, troubles me greatly.
An organization such as the YMCA that caters to the physical and emotional needs of a diverse population in Palm Coast and cannot continue to operate in our fair city is a sad commentary on what ranking in importance such a health-related enterprise represents.
On the other hand, for our city manager, Jim Landon, and our elected City Council members to remain adamant about using an “idle $10 million slush fund” to build a complex to house offices for themselves and a staff during dire economic times is mind boggling!
Would that the latter individuals might think of those who elected them in the first place!
It’s time for the City Council to make a decision that could benefit all age groups of the city, from the children to the seniors. Rather than being so intent on building the City Hall that would provide lavish offices for all of the aforementioned, why not consider entering into a partnership with the YMCA to acquire and revitalize the campus of the former Players Club to create a comprehensive recreational facility that could serve a population that deserves an exercise and wellness program into its every day living?
Acquiring the former Players Club would be a boon for our city and would show that our elected officials are really concerned for the well being of their constituents.
And, by using some of the $10 million that Mr. Landon says we have lying around, this would not cost the taxpayers any additional funds.
Albeit in some degree of disrepair currently, the Players Club has much to offer. The current asking price of approximately $4 million can probably be negotiated in today’s depressed market.
There needs to be an urging on the part of the residents to convince the elected officials that the time is now to work toward the goal of acquiring the former Players Club — hopefully in a joint venture with the YMCA — and not let that once-renowned facility slip away and probably hear future laments that “We should have made the effort to bring those acres back into the fold.”
I would urge all of you, young and old, to tell the City Council, whom you elected, that you want life restored to the Players Club complex. Remember that there is power in numbers.
PART OF THE ‘GOVERNMENT SYSTEM’?
+ Mobile Benefits not needed; residents already know
In the May 5 edition of the Palm Coast Observer, it was reported that the County Commission “voted to spend $40,000 to help pay for a specialist to coordinate the Mobile Benefits Program, which will seek out those entitled to benefits directly rather than waiting for them to come to it.”
The article stated hungry residents are not taking advantage of the food stamp program because of embarrassment, lack of transportation, or being unaware of entitlements.
My interpretation of the article is that we are going to spend $40,000 of our county taxes to force people to take $700,000 or $800,000 a month of our federal and state tax dollars. Somehow our county is supposed to benefit from this by $10 million a year, according to Commission Chairman Alan Peterson. County taxpayers also pay federal and state taxes.
I worked for 25 years in the welfare system. I doubt there are even five people in our county who are really not aware of the food stamp and welfare programs. There are social services, guidance counselors, doctors, media, neighbors, family, health department workers, etc., who would refer any one truly in need.
Many people do not want to be on food stamps. Just like many people don’t want to be forced on Medicaid with the federal health care bill; many are proud, independent people who don’t want to be forced into the government system. It is not about what other people think. It is about what they think, and it is their right. When in need, an occasional free meal or groceries do not destroy their independence.
Many other people are self employed, with fluctuating incomes. Occasional free food helps in the slow months. They do not want to become part of the government system, either. They would then have to sign all the paper work and justify how their limited income pays their higher expenses. Others, of course, have illegal incomes and wouldn’t want to be tracked by the government.
The article states: “People are starving in Flagler County.” Where are these people? Is this because of lack of resources or improper use of resources? Who has investigated this?
Commissioner Milissa Holland will reimburse the county through fundraisers by the Women’s Initiative. It should be noted that she frequently tries to save the county taxpayers’ money. However, there is still much that is unclear. Is the $40,000 per year, or for the two years? Also, the article says the $40,000 is to help pay for a specialist to coordinate the Mobile Benefits Program. Does that person get county benefits? Who pays the rest? Are there any taxpayer funds in the rest of the program? How many people work in the program? Is the program just to have people register for food stamps, or does it include welfare, voter registration, Medicaid and many other things? What mobile units do they use? Who pays for them and the gas? What “budget savings” are we using to “front” this program?
There are many unanswered questions in the article about this project. Please have the paper do a followup in the future to see what it is actually doing for, or to, our county.