Abacoa: Will study jumpstart community development?

 JUPITER, Fla.-- A $30,000 study funded by taxpayer dollars and private funds from Wells Fargo is what the Abacoa Property Owners Assembly hopes will jumpstart development in Abacoa.
 
The study is being conducted by Gibbs Planning Group, which specializes in urban retail consulting.
 
The group says 50 percent of available retail space is vacant in Abacoa.
 
Marianna Loduca has seen Abacoa grow since she moved here in 2000. Lately, she's noticed more empty buildings than ever.

"I'm very concerned because, you know, I want to see everybody succeed," said Loduca.  
    
Phil smith of Jupiter Heights said he'd like to see more than a few shops and restaurants.  
 
"It would be nice because it's a fun area and they have things for the kids and you know, The restaurants are kid friendly but there's not much to do other than eating," said Smith.
 
Abacoa Property Owners Assembly executive director Beth Kelso is optimistic the study will help.

Kelso said, "It's very well built, you know, we just need to make it work, we need to tweak it to make it work."
 
Kelso also said she's hearing good feedback from taking part in planning focus groups.

"People want this to be successful, they want to be proud of their town center," said Kelso.
This study isn't all about filling empty space on Town Center Drive in Abacoa.
 
It's also about finding the best use for vacant land a few blocks away, next to Roger Dean Stadium.
 
The study will wrap up by the end of 2012.
 
A public meeting will reveal the results at 6 p.m., January 25th at Florida Atlantic University's Lifelong Learning Society.

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