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Residents suggest upgraded sidewalks for Delray's beach
By Maria Herrera, Sun Sentinel

November 9, 2009

Preserve the small-town character of the beach. Upgrade sidewalks and pathways. Improved ocean views.

That's what residents who gathered Saturday at a beach planning session at the Marriott Residence Inn in Delray Beach suggested to improve the city's biggest asset: The beach.

"It was about what's important to the citizens," said Mary Renaud, president of the Beach Property Owners Association, which hosted the event. "There was a great atmosphere as far as improving things on the beach."

More than 80 residents attended the planning session, moderated by Bob Currie, architect and beach resident, and Cambridge architect Perry Neubauer, who has conducted other planning sessions in Delray Beach.

Among the major concerns was keeping the village-by-the-sea feel and improving the eastern sidewalk.

"You have people on skates and skateboards and bicycles and you have people walking," said beach area residents Charlie Bonfield. "There was a suggestion that we make a two section sidewalk: one that would be concrete like it is now and perhaps a serpentine section that winds its way through trees and plantings where people could walk and perhaps it could be pavers."

Bonfield said there were also suggestions of socializing areas — balconies or boardwalk-like sections where people could gather on benches to watch sunrises or read books. Bonfield said that many residents also wanted to see the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and State Road A1A improved.

"That's the centerpiece of the beach area," he said.

Renaud said the plan is to adopt some of these ideas as funding becomes available.

Nearly every area of the city has a master plan or a revitalization plan. That's how Old School Square, the library and tennis centers and the Pineapple Grove Arts District were envisioned — with the input and ideas of residents.

The beach has been among the areas of the city left off the planning board. Though most plans take years to implement, they serve as a blueprint for redevelopment in key city areas.

"At the appropriate time we'll present the results to the City Commission," said City Manager David Harden. "If they adopt it then we would follow it as far as future improvements."

Maria Herrera can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or 561-243-6544.

 
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