Take Action to Protect our Waterways

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Cheryl A. Houghtelin
Friends of MacArthur Beach State Park
561.776.7449
cheryl@macarthurbeach.org
www.macarthurbeach.org

MacArthur Beach State Park’s Jr. Friends Take Action to Protect our Waterways

(North Palm Beach, FL) – MacArthur Beach State Park’s Jr. Friends organization recently adopted and installed a monofilament recycling sign and bin on Jack Nicklaus Drive on the bridge near US Highway 1. The project was initiated by former Jr. Friends President, Adrienne Propp after noticing discarded fishing line dangling from the power lines that run across the bridge. She presented the idea to the Jr. Friends and the Board of Directors of the Friends of MacArthur Beach and received a unanimous vote in favor of adopting the bridge. After many months of research and permitting, installation day finally came. The Jr. Friends will continue to monitor the bin and clean it out frequently in hopes to reduce the damages caused by monofilament.

Monofilament is a single-stand, high density nylon fishing line. When improperly discarded it can entangle wildlife including birds, manatees and sea turtles. The fishing line can last 600 years and can also be accidentally ingested by sea life.

The Jr. Friends of MacArthur Beach State Park is an organization made up of environmentally concerned high school students with the mission of generating supplemental resources to preserve, restore, and interpret the natural and cultural assets of the Park for present and future generations.

John D. MacArthur Beach State Park, Palm Beach County’s only state park, is situated on a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and the Lake Worth Lagoon. The Park is made up of 438 acres of pristine coastal land and contains four different communities or habitats including seven species of plants and twenty-two species of animals on the endangered or threatened list. MacArthur Beach is truly an “Island in Time.

Summer 2013 Message

With the completion of the construction of AIA and its beautification, SICA and Singer Island residents can turn their attention to two vital issues: beach erosion and the completion of the Ocean Mall. I will discuss the beach issue in more depth under the beaches and dunes section of our newsletter.

Further development at the Ocean Mall was stopped in its tracks by the financial demise of the original developer OMRD Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Catalfumo Development Corporation. When OMR Corp defaulted on its loan with BB&T Bank, an investment fund from New York known as GSF Trust stepped up to the plate and purchased the defaulted note from the bank. The purchase of the note took place in 2012; however, due to litigation issues involving Catalfumo and OMRD Corp, GSF was unable to move forward until May 1 of this year. Under the original lease with the city of Riviera Beach and OMRD Corp, the developer was obligated to pay the city an additional $300,000 should the build out of the mall not be completed by a certain date. GSF honored OMRD’s original obligation and has since paid the city the $300,000. GFS subsequently asked the city for a one year extension to complete the build out until May 31, 2014. The city agreed for an additional payment of $250,000. The remaining Seven Eleven building is to be torn down sometime this summer. GFS is shooting for August; however, this depends somewhat on Seven Eleven’s move to the vacant space at the north end of the mall. Seven Eleven has already started work on the improvements to the vacant space. GFS has also engaged the services of another New York firm who has more expertise in finding tenants for the remaining vacant space. The new agreement between the city and GFS calls for completion of the mall by May 31, 2014. lf this commitment is not met by GFS the leasehold improvements revert back to the city. Once the current Seven Eleven building is razed, GFS will create a green space until a new structure can be erected. Through the efforts of Councilwoman Dawn Pardo and Mary McKinney, head of the Community Development Department at Riviera Beach, a laundry list of housekeeping items was given to GSF to improve the overall appearance of the mall.

Sufficient parking at the Ocean Mall has been an issue especially on weekends. Riviera Beach CRA Executive Director, Tony Brown, has been negotiating with a land holder just behind the Grator Gator convenience market to erect a parking garage to handle the overflow parking from the mall. The current owner is not opposed to the concept; however, he would like to build a low rise hotel on top of the garage. Ongoing discussions with the owner, RBCRA, and island residents are still in progress. The RBCRA and island residents are focused on cleaning up the back properties behind the Grator Gator. This issue has always been complicated by the multiple property owners along Blue Heron and Beach Court.

Off the island construction continues on Broadway and U.S. 1. This is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2014. Planned improvements at the Riviera Beach Marina should begin early 2014.

Operations at the Rybovich Mega Yacht Center on 20th Street should hopefully be in full swing by April or May, 2014.