WEST PALM BEACH, Fla— — A neglected part of Clematis Street could soon see new life. It’s up to city commissioners to vote Monday on a multi-million dollar plan that includes cleaning up wires and enhancing the current drainage system.
“I’ve had a couple of times where I’ve gone down the alleyway and I felt kind of uneasy,” said Market on Clematis employee Eric Taylor.
Taylor has worked along Clematis since 2015. He says businesses rely on the alley for garbage collection, but it’s not usual to see an employee taking a break in the back.
“I’m more worried about all the unsavories that seem to hang out in the cubby holes and the dark shadowy areas,” said Taylor.
The city says it has worked hard over the past year designing a pedestrian-oriented space similar to what’s been done along the front of Clematis.
“So what we want to say is our back door can also be our front door. Eventually, we want the businesses to feel welcomed adjacent to Datura and Clematis and encourage them to open to the back of the alley,” said WPB traffic engineer Uyen Dang.
However, that vision is still a long way down the road. City officials say before it could become a pedestrian walkway or hangout they first must focus on improving the infrastructure starting with the alley along the 300 block of Clematis.
“Part of the scope is to underground our low voltage which is ATT & Comcast,” said Dang.
Phase 1 is projected to cost a little more than 1.9 million dollars. The plans not only call for taking the low voltage wires underground but at the same time, they will work to connect rain from roofs to the storm drain.
“The second phase of it is going to be more beautification you know murals,” said Dang.
If approved construction for Phase 1 would begin in September or October of 2019 and then Phase 2 would start sometime during the summer of 2020.
Taylor says as long as the police plan to patrol it like they do the rest of Downtown West Palm Beach they welcome the changes with open doors.
“I would really hate for someone to go back there and their life be at risk,” said Taylor.
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