RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — Reimagine Riviera Beach is more than a motto — there’s money behind it. Hundreds of millions and over the next few weeks residents have three options to choose from on how the money should be divided. The master development plans everything from public safety to attracting more private investment.
Georgia Produce owner Amos James is known as the “watermelon man” and for 42-years his family has sold produce along Blue Heron Boulevard.
”To me this is paradise this is a gold mine,” said James.
So much so he put all of his children through school on the money from selling fruit and collard greens.
”One’s a nurse practitioner, another is a psychiatrist, a doctor, and an accountant,” James said “They all did it from right here selling watermelons and collars greens working here every weekend.”
A successful brand he’d like to see translate when people think about Riviera Beach.
”Just look around you,” James said.
Literally, it’s a brand city leaders are taking seriously.
“We’ve had estimates that our rebuilding, revitalization, and cost are going to be upwards of $500-million,” said Douglas Lawson, Riviera Beach District 5 council member.
Hundreds of millions for a master development plan called Reimagine Riviera Beach launched in the summer of 2019.
”We talked about what did our city need to look like over the next 10, 20, and 30 years,” Lawson said.
Community workshops determined there needs to be improvements to government administration, public safety, water resources, wellness, and attracting private investment. During Thursday’s newly launched “Community Conversation” residents got a look at the three options on the table.
”We also need more housing. the poor and rich gap is getting more divided and it’s starting to show its face here,” said Mikhail Hay-Smith, Riviera Beach resident. “We must be more accountable for the future of our own cities.”
For example, Option A would add a train station, parking garage, and private mixed-use developments versus Option C which would provide the highest amount of mixed-use developments and a wellness center.
”It represents transparency, honesty, integrity, and beautiful growth because this is the best city to live, work, and play,” Lawson said.
All three options would result in the demolition of the current police department, city hall, and a fire station. The three options afford residents to determine where they would best be positioned.
The next community conversation is Aug. 16 at The Ambassadors Center from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. And again at the Riviera Beach Library on Aug. 17 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
To learn more about Reimagine Riviera Beach, click here.