Message from the President - 2017

The WPB Downtown Neighborhood Association finished 2016 strong and closed the year with close to 300 members. One can't help but feel the excitement in the air as we continue to see our development cycle ramp up, and see the transformation that is evident throughout our downtown. 

In 2017 our downtown will continue to see our skyline change with the addition of several new skyscrapers, and we should see The Brightline high speed rail from West Palm to Miami begin service in the second half of year.  New apartment buildings, condos, hotels and other businesses will continue to fill in our downtown spaces. With new development, our downtown population will continue to grow.

The Downtown Neighborhood Association, by working with our adjacent neighborhoods, civic and city leaders will do our best to manage these changes and inevitable growing pains. Our members and stakeholders will always try to help shape the change and policy decisions that will transform our city for decades to come.

We do this by working to keep our residents informed of upcoming city meetings and plans and use other methods to help bend the ear of our city representatives and make our voices heard. We continue to try and help make the city aware of immediate concerns through our SEECLICKFIX application which many downtown members are now contributing to.

We recently held our annual general meeting at the Hyatt Place which gave members an opportunity to learn how our downtown development process works from our City's Urban Designer Ana Maria Aponte and WPB Development Services Director Rick Greene. 

We also had  The Homeless Coalition give a presentation to help our members understand what their organization does and how they work with other organizations like The Lord's Place to alleviate, and in some cases end  homelessness for some of our less fortunate downtown residents.

Our organization will also continue to support local businesses to the best of our abilities holding events throughout the year at local establishments.  We held our final year-end well attended holiday event this year at Banko Cantina, located at 114 S Olive. The new owners have completely restored this historic property and helped activate this space into a lively and quality dining establishment.

Lastly, The DNA continues to raise money for capital improvement projects in the downtown.  Over the last few years we have completed several capital projects including the landscaping on the South side of the Evernia garage, historic artwork wraps on utility boxes, and last year we installed three bike fix-it stations at different locations in our downtown. 

We just completed our latest project through our fundraising efforts with our partnership with The Palm Beach Gator Club.  This project was also partially funded by Duffy's Sports Grill and the Downtown Development Authority and we received assistance from Nicole Henry. Nicole Henry who put on the CANVAS Outdoor Art show, and who just moved her art gallery to the 500 block of Clematis St, was able to fast track our project with the city. You can go view our latest project at Jose Marti Park. 

The city is of W PB is currently working on installing new irrigation, sod, and lighting in this area.

The DNA installed a multi-purpose sports deck in a shaded area near the new murals from the CANVAS art show.  The sports deck can be used for outdoor fitness activities like a boot camp, or yoga.  We also imagine groups could use this for a small outdoor concert, drum circle, poetry reading, or even a picnic.  As the old city hall site is set to redevelop, and Flagler Blvd. soon to reopen we hope to see this park reactivate and transform in the coming years.

We are extremely grateful for the continuing cooperation and support from the Downtown Development Authority.  The DDA have always been a steadfast supporter of the DNA, and we thank them.

Acknowledging Our Team

The DNA is comprised of a group of volunteers contributing their time and, without their efforts, this organization would not exist. 2016 was a year that we saw many new people step into and solidify leadership roles in the organization.  I would like to name a few of these key contributors.

First off I would like to thank Cynthia Nalley for her years of service as membership director, and more recently events director.  She still assists us with some of our back end technology support, and is also an active member.  We can't thank her enough for the level of dedication, and efficiency she provided over the years. 

Jesse bailey is our vice president, treasurer and has been a fantastic addition to the DNA leadership team over the last several years.  He is deeply involved in our successes and the direction of our organization. You can follow the blog he founded about building a better West Palm Beach at www.walkableWPB.com.

Elaine McCarthy has joined our board and is our new Events Director.  She did a fantastic job throughout her first full year creating in some cases multiple events each month.  We are lucky to have her and hope she will stay on for years to come. 

Rick Zullo has joined our board and is our new marketing chair. Rick is taking care of our social media feeds on Facebook and Twitter and we hope will continue to help our group grow, as well as managing the website, and working with the event committee to promote our local events.

Susan Landeryou and Jeannene Cox, our most seasoned Directors, continued to contribute at every monthly board meeting and volunteer at each event.  They are both very active in the community and help us wherever needed throughout the year.

Tamara Sager has joined our group and is now handling our membership director position.  Although she is fairly new with our group she has done a fantastic job taking over this vital position and we hope to see her role grow within the organization. 

Looking Ahead

In 2017 the DNA plans to continue moving forward on our current initiatives, as well as create new ones.

Our volunteers and members are the lifeblood of this organization. Please tell a friend about us and encourage them to join at www.wpbdna.com. We are always looking for new volunteers and leaders, and will do whatever we can to help support any worthy cause that can help make our city not just a good city, but a great city.

See you at our next event!

Michael Cuevas
WPB DNA President


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