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Cries to reverse Delray Beach's decision on Old School Square continue to grow

Commissioners to address situation during Tuesday's meeting
Posted at 3:44 PM, Aug 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-16 17:23:20-04

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — A petition has reached more than 5,000 signatures in support of the nonprofit that runs Old School Square in Delray Beach.

The city commission voted 3-2 last week to terminate the lease agreement after a 30-year partnership.

People plan to show support for the nonprofit at Tuesday's commission meeting.

Since this commission made this decision last week, there has been a massive response from the community, many wondering can this decision be changed.

"I don't feel uncomfortable with the vote at all," Delray Beach Commissioner Juli Casale said Monday.

Delray Beach Commissioner Juli Casale speaks about Old School Square
Delray Beach Commissioner Juli Casale voted to end the lease with Old School Square.

Casale was one of the three commissioners who said there have been numerous management issues over the last several years, including city staff recently reporting old school square was behind on their audits and other required paperwork.

"There are minimum reporting requirements that are not being met, and they haven't been for a long time," Casale said.

Commissioner Adam Frankel was one of the two commissioners who voted no last week to end the lease.

He said the process has not been transparent enough.

"I've never, since 2009, received more phone calls, more emails, more texts from people that are absolutely displeased on what occurred," Frankel said.

The commission will meet on Tuesday. While Old School Square is not on the agenda, the commission and city are prepared to talk about the situation.

Delray Beach Commissioner Adam Frankel speaks about Old School Square
Delray Beach Commissioner Adam Frankel says he hopes the city will reanalyze the decision regarding Old School Square.

"I would hope there would be a motion to reconsider the vote that occurred last week," Frankel said.

Casale said she does not plan to reconsider the vote right now, and city staff is looking at how and who would take over managing this city-owned property.

"We are not inclined to change this in any way, except the management, and making it better for the residents," Casale said.

Scott Porten is a former board member for Old School Square and says finding someone new to operate it in 180 days is going to be difficult.

"There has to be a lag because there is no way they can take a transition from us to them and be open," Porten said.

Scott Porten, former Old School Square board member
Scott Porten says quickly finding a new operator of Old School Square will be difficult.

He said taxpayers will be the ones to make up for that lag.

"I hoping what they discover is they didn't ask the right questions," Porten said.

The commission meeting starts at 4 p.m. Tuesday and there will be time for public comment.

Below is a statement released Friday by the city regarding the situation concerning Old School Square:

Below is a statement posted on Facebook by the nonprofit that runs Old School Square: