ABOUT THE PROJECT
The Clematis Streetscape project is a multi-phase approach to improving one of the City’s most beloved streets, Clematis Street. As part of an overall effort to improve the quality of life of residents and visitors, the City of West Palm Beach is rolling out more than 40 projects to maximize the cityscape for business and leisure. Projects are slated to begin in the short, medium and long-term future. With the return of passenger rail, and continuing change in the retail landscape (due to online growth and recent City zoning changes), the Clematis Streetscape project is perfectly poised to address the current and future needs of Clematis Street businesses and downtown residents.
The City has engaged visionary urban planning company Dover, Kohl & Partners to design a polished and professional solution to the next phase of Clematis Street. With a strategy that focuses on smart growth, and sustainability, the Coral Gables-based firm believes there does not have to be a trade-off between livability, economic prosperity, and environmental concerns. Victor Dover and Joseph Kohl, who are charter members of the Congress for the New Urbanism, and have worked for many public agencies, developers, and citizen groups, structure their designs with this guiding principal.
The firm is currently drafting designs for City review, bringing forward more than one strategy for discussion, and showing a visualization of both short and long-term goals. City commissioners and stakeholders, including Clematis Street merchants, are expected to provide feedback for discussion in the early part of January. Following these key meetings, members of the public will have several flexible opportunities to join the conversation before a final design is selected and recommended for implementation in February.
Expert engineers Kimley-Horn have been retained to implement the project and ensure quality details and execution.
Groundbreaking is scheduled to begin in May and run through shoulder season, wrapping up in October. The City of West Palm Beach, along with Mayor Jeri Muoio; Assistant City Administrator, Scott Kelly; West Palm Beach Director of Economic Development, Chris Roog; Clematis Streetscape project manager andCity Transportation Engineer, Erik Ferguson, P.E.; Community Redevelopment Agency Senior Project Manager, Allison Justice; and Executive Director of the Downtown Development Authority, Raphael Clemente; are coordinating to present a cohesive vision and strategy to Clematis Street merchants, the Downtown Development Authority, the Downtown Neighborhood Association, other stakeholders and the public.
Since 1894, Clematis Street has been the hub of the West Palm Beach business district – and in more recent years, dubbed the “living room” of the buzzing downtown community. With a goal to attract businesses and residents to the City center, the City of West Palm Beach continues to take a proactive approach to maintain and improve the heart of downtown. Known today as the “Main Street,” where residents and tourists converge to shop, dine, do business, relax, and have fun, the authentic architecture along Clematis Street has evolved over the last century, spanning nearly ever significant era and style from 1890 to 2009. With a current urban renaissance successfully underway, the City is embarking on a dynamic project to improve the iconic Clematis Street, known as the Clematis Streetscape project.
Shops and restaurants line the ground floor of historic buildings for the length of the street, from Flagler Drive to Rosemary Avenue, providing abundant dining and entertainment options. Businesses range from 100-year-old retailers and modern dance clubs, to health food stores and variety of culinary options – from American fare to sushi, Mexican, and Italian. Weekly, monthly and annual events, including a renowned GreenMarket, concerts, parades, and festivals draw crowds of locals and visitors to Clematis Street. Given its expert design and appeal to a varied audience, Clematis Street has been voted top ten “Great Places in America: Streets” by the American Planning Association.
As a continuation of the City of West Palm Beach’s commitment to the future, the City is entering Phase I of the multi-phase Clematis Streetscape project. The goal is, and always will remain, to improve the quality of life for people who live, work, and play downtown. With a rich history and vibrant business community, incredible care is being given to the start of this project and its future goals. Currently, the City is reaching out to community stakeholders, including Clematis Street merchants, the DDA, DNA, and others, to capitalize on Clematis Street’s strengths and solicit feedback on the overall design of Clematis Street. The public will have several opportunities to provide input and engage in thoughtful discussion with City leaders, project managers and project designers. The outcome of the project will be a quality public space that contributes to people’s health, happiness and well-being.