UPDATE (4/21/2015): With the dogged assistance of HPD, the City and County reached agreement to purchase the last undeveloped parcel on Lake Ida, preserving in perpetuity a priceless green space on the lake shore. In the future, the parcel will be a key link in a greenway stretching from Boca Raton through Delray to Boynton and eventually West Palm. HPD members Bill Bathurst, Patrick Halliday, and Jim Chard together with HPD volunteer Cindy Freeburn, City Commissioners Shelly Petrolia and Mitch Katz and City Manager Don Cooper persuaded a somewhat skeptical Palm Beach County Commission to sell the valuable parcel to increase park space east of I-95 rather than to a developer planning on building luxury townhomes. Our advocates were vocal and articulate.
Lake Ida is a priceless asset residing in the heart of Delray Beach. It is a community jewel recognized by all Delray Beach citizens, surrounded by beautiful homes, tree-lined streets, charming lake views, and a thriving community theater. On the northwest corner there remains an untouched 4.8 acre parcel that could either be built out as a high density development comprised of luxury town homes or a remarkable small park harboring native plants and animals. Delray has a choice of yet another expensive development or a one-of-a-kind nature preserve. If left in its natural state, this parcel will be preserved for our children’s generation and our children’s children, in perpetuity. If the parcel is developed it will be gone forever.
The green parcel not only looks beautiful, it provides many benefits for all the citizens of Delray. Benefits include buffering the traffic noise from abutting I-95, capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide from auto exhaust, trapping rainwater that will be filtered into our limestone aquifers rather than running into storm sewers, and cooling the air even during our hot summer days. The deluxe townhouses contribute few if any benefits and benefit only the lucky few.
“Saving the Lake Ida parcel for public benefit is one of the best ways imaginable to contribute to the heritage we enjoy.”
The question facing Delray and the City Council is one of quality of life. Most of our residents live and work in Delray because there is no other place that compares. We have benefited from the vision of city fathers and mothers dating back to the 1890s. It is our responsibility to preserve and extend that century old legacy. Saving the Lake Ida parcel for public benefit is one of the best ways imaginable to contribute to the heritage we enjoy. A number of public spirited individuals have already offered to donate $50,000 so the City can acquire the parcel. The Mayor and City Commission have been impressed by this indication of public interest and are actively considering purchase from the current owner, the County of Palm Beach. You can help make this vision a reality by writing to the Mayor and the Commission supporting the preservation of the lakeshore parcel and attending the City Workshop in mid-April.
– This article was written by HPD Chair Jim Chard for Lake Ida Neighborhood Paper –