Category: Press Releases

Visionary project to come to Downtown as West Palm Beach DDA selects ‘The Next Big Thing’

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (September 13, 2022) – The West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA), with support from the West Palm Beach Arts & Entertainment District, today announced the winner in its search for “The Next Big Thing” — a quest to bring a unique and imaginative outdoor experience to the heart of the city.  A community-wide project called Trojan Rocking Horses was chosen from a search that generated more than 20 international submissions aimed at engaging the West Palm Beach community, downtown residents, and visitors. 

Trojan Rocking Horses consists of eight life-sized rocking horses, each custom-designed by local children during design workshops and then fabricated locally, under the guidance of world-renowned Finnish artist and architect Marco Casagrande. The horses will begin their journey through various communities in West Palm Beach collecting messages from West Palm Beach citizens.  

Casagrande, a five-time invitee to the Venice Architecture Biennale and a recipient of the UNESCO Global Award for Sustainable Architecture, envisions each horse as a work of art and a gathering source for the community’s ideas and visions for the for the future of Downtown West Palm Beach.   

Upon arrival in Downtown, there will be a performance where the horses are placed as interactive sculptures that will symbolically deliver these aspirational messages to the heart of the City. The horses will continue to collect inspiring messages from the community as they remain in downtown. Several times each year, the messages will be reviewed and published both online and in printed newspaper. 

“This project is special because it directly involves the community from beginning to end, and truly is a project of, by, and for the people in West Palm Beach,” said Sherryl Muriente, Public Realm Director for the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority. “It will give local residents the opportunity to express their ideas and vision for the future of Downtown West Palm Beach through a visible expression of the community’s voice, empowering them in the process, as they build something together.”  

The goal of The Next Big Thing Project was to inspire placemakers to create a new experience that would be interactive, unique to the place, artistic, and ignite the community’s imagination. Applicants were asked to interpret the theme in their own, original, creative way reflecting on the idea of sparking moments of fascination, wonder, and imagination.  

With the selection process complete, the West Palm Beach DDA will work with Marco Casagrande and his team to bring this project to life over the next several months.  

For further information about the DDA, please visit DowntownWPB.com or call (561) 833-8873. 

 

About the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority 

The West Palm Beach DDA is an independent taxing district created in 1967 by a special act of the Florida Legislature. Its mission is to promote and enhance a safe, vibrant Downtown for our residents, businesses and visitors through the strategic development of economic, social and cultural opportunities. 

 

About the West Palm Beach A&E District 

The West Palm Beach Arts & Entertainment District is a centralized collection of inspiring arts and entertainment venues; art and history museums; galleries; libraries; performing arts companies; and art education institutions. Situated in the heart of South Florida’s most progressive city, the District includes more than 20 distinct and distinguished cultural destinations that form a defining industry cluster. The A&E District enhances the appeal of West Palm Beach as a visitor destination, drawing attention to its status as a vibrant city illuminated by its beauty and range of creative expression. 

 

About Casagrande Laboratory 

Casagrande Laboratory is a multidisciplinary architecture and innovation company with projects ranging from one-family houses to CLT apartment buildings and from environmental art to landscape architecture and local knowledge based biourbanism. Spearheaded by world-renowned architect Marco Casagrande the Laboratory is involved with commission, research and educational projects with equally respected individuals, families, communities, companies, organizations, industries, cities, governments and environments as our clients. www.casagrandelaboratory.com 

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Community Foundation Executive Daryl Houston Appointed to West Palm Beach DDA Board of Directors

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (March 21, 2022) – The West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has announced the appointment of Daryl K. Houston as a member of the DDA Board of Directors. The appointment was made by West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James.

 Houston is a life-long resident of Palm Beach County and has worked in downtown West Palm Beach for the past 14 years. He currently serves as the interim vice president for community impact for the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties. He previously held leadership positions at the United Way of Palm Beach County.

Houston’s volunteer work includes a role as board chairman of the Emergency Food Shelter Program and vice chair of the Florida Philanthropic Network. He is a graduate of Western Kentucky University with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications and a minor in Sociology.

About the Downtown Development Authority
The West Palm Beach DDA is an independent taxing district created in 1967 by a special act of the Florida Legislature. Its mission is to promote and enhance a safe, vibrant Downtown for our residents, businesses and visitors through the strategic development of economic, social and cultural opportunities.

For more information about the DDA or Downtown West Palm Beach, please visit DowntownWPB.com or call the DDA at (561) 833-8873.

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West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority Wins Award for “Dining on the Spot”

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (November 5, 2021) – The Florida Redevelopment Association (FRA) has recognized the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA) for its unique approach to outdoor dining amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “Dining on the Spot”, a program launched by the DDA to help downtown restaurants to continue generating revenues while providing a safe environment to serve patrons outdoors, was named winner of the 2021 ‘Out of the Box’ Award by the FRA at its annual awards ceremony. 

While the concept of outdoor seating was already prominent in downtown West Palm Beach, the Dining on the Spot project was created when health and safety protocols limited indoor dining. It extended the seating availability and transformed alleyways, sidewalks, and parking lots into seating areas for West Palm Beach residents to enjoy their favorite downtown spots. For participating restaurants, the program also provided funding for equipment rental and marketing kits.  

The program was created and led by DDA Manager of Urban Placemaking Sherryl Muriente, who accepted the award at the FRA’s Annual Conference in Tampa.  

Even as concerns surrounding indoor dining ease, the success of the program is still alive in Downtown West Palm Beach, as various business continues to utilize the space and funding that Dining on the Spot provides.  

About the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority 
The West Palm Beach DDA is an independent taxing district created in 1967 by a special act of the Florida Legislature. Its mission is to promote and enhance a safe, vibrant Downtown for our residents, businesses and visitors through the strategic development of economic, social and cultural opportunities. 

For more information about the DDA or Downtown West Palm Beach, please visit DowntownWPB.com or call the DDA at (561) 833-8873. 

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WEST PALM BEACH DDA LAUNCHES MONTHLY “SUNSET SILENT DISCO” ON THE WPB WATERFRONT

WHAT: The West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA) announces Sunset Silent Disco, a monthly event to bring people together through dance. The event takes place the third Saturday of each month beginning October 16, 2021 through May 2022 at the Waterfront Landing, 109 S. Flagler Dr.  

Facilitated by Be You Disco, everyone who registers will be provided with headsets that sync music for everyone to enjoy. Instructors from Be You Disco will guide the dance portion followed by entertainment by a local musician or sound healer for an immersive live experience. This event promises to provide a freeing and healing process for attendees during the 90-minute journey. 

This is a free event aimed at bringing people together and connecting the downtown community while encouraging a healthy, active lifestyle. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing and footwear and bring water and a yoga mat or towel.   

WHEN: The third Saturday of each month from October 2021 through May 2022  

6:40 p.m. Check-in 

7:00 p.m. Guided Dance Journey  

8:00 p.m. Live Music/Sound Bath  

WHERE:            Waterfront Landing 

109 S. Flagler Drive, West Palm Beach 

*The March 19, 2022 event will be located at CityZen Garden, 400 Datura Street 

HOW: Registration is available at DowntownWPB.com/SilentDisco

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WEST PALM BEACH DDA OFFERS FREE CIRCUIT SHUTTLE RIDES TO LET VISITORS EASILY HOP AROUND DOWNTOWN WPB

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (October 12, 2021) – It’s never been easier to visit your favorite spots in Downtown West Palm Beach. Beginning Monday, October 18, the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is launching a three-month pilot project sponsorship of the Circuit on-demand electric shuttle, which will offer free rides throughout downtown and the Town of Palm Beach through January 16, 2022.  

“We’re constantly looking for opportunities to reduce congestion and get people out of their cars,” said DDA Executive Director Raphael Clemente. “Through both the Circuit shuttle and Downtown Trolley, we’re giving resident and visitors multiple options to make it easier to enjoy what downtown has to offer.” 

Rides can be scheduled through the Circuit smartphone app available at ridecircuit.com. The service is available 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 7:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, and 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. on Sunday. 

The Circuit shuttle uses 100-percent electric vehicles, promoting better air quality while offering a first-mile/last-mile transportation option that is convenient and easy to use. Free rides are available between any two locations within the Circuit zone, available at DowntownWPB.com/Circuit. Gratuities for Circuit drivers are appreciated but never required. 

“As a business owner and resident of downtown West Palm Beach, I couldn’t be more excited about expanding Circuit’s services,” said Alexander Esposito, co-founder and CEO of Circuit.  “With the help of the DDA, our amazing team of local drivers and a growing list of loyal riders, we’re excited to help make downtown West Palm Beach an easier place to get around, while reducing congestion and emissions along the way.” 

The Circuit shuttle and Downtown Trolley are just two of many DDA initiatives aimed at improving downtown life and supporting downtown businesses. Other programs include the Downtown Clean Team, the Security Ambassadors, a homeless outreach program, and business development grants.  

About the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority 
The West Palm Beach DDA is an independent taxing district created in 1967 by a special act of the Florida Legislature. Its mission is to promote and enhance a safe, vibrant Downtown for our residents, businesses and visitors through the strategic development of economic, social and cultural opportunities. 

For more information about the DDA or Downtown West Palm Beach, please visit DowntownWPB.com or call the DDA at (561) 833-8873. 

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WEST PALM BEACH DDA TO TAKE PART IN NATIONAL PLACEMAKING CONFERENCE

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (September 21, 2021) – West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Manager of Urban Placemaking Sherryl Muriente has been selected as one of just 25 placemaking leaders across the country to share their expertise during this year’s Placemaking Week conference in Flint, MI. The event, taking place this week, is produced by What’s Up Downtown Flint and PlacemakingUS.  

Muriente will be a featured speaker during a panel on managing downtowns and will facilitate a week-long workshop to create placemaking solutions for Flint.  The city, known as the crucible of the car, was one of the first communities to be designed around the automobile, and now Flint is refocusing its energy to reinvent the city around people and places for a brighter urban future. The goal of PlacemakingUS is to elevate Flint’s ground game, share techniques and learn from this unique city’s history and future.

The Placemaking Week conference will be filled with workshops, discussions and idea-sharing centered around topics including connecting neighborhoods, placemaking and the local economy, creative placemaking, streets for people, healthy placemaking and downtown management. “I look forward to connecting with the visiting placemakers and exploring the opportunities we have here in Flint with their base of knowledge,” said Kiaira May, executive director of the City of Flint Downtown Development Authority.

In her role with the DDA, Muriente guides projects and programs focused on placemaking, community engagement and residential programs, capturing the vitality of downtown’s creative community to enhance the appeal of downtown. She’s overseen award-winning projects including Dining on the Spot, pop-up vendor shopping location Thoroughfare, and community outdoor wellness hour classes.

About the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority
The West Palm Beach DDA is an independent taxing district created in 1967 by a special act of the Florida Legislature. Its mission is to promote and enhance a safe, vibrant Downtown for our residents, businesses and visitors through the strategic development of economic, social and cultural opportunities.

For more information about the DDA or Downtown West Palm Beach, please visit DowntownWPB.com or call the DDA at (561) 833-8873.

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New Members Appointed to West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority Board of Directors

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (August 2, 2021) – The West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA) announces the appointment of Richard V. Reikenis as president and William P. Jacobson as vice-chair of the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority Board of Directors. Attorney Varisa Lall Dass will also be joining the board following her appointment by West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James.  

Reikenis previously served as vice-chair of the DDA Board. He also serves on the Advisory Council of The LeMieux Center for Public Policy at Palm Beach Atlantic University. He was city commissioner and mayor of West Palm Beach between 1985 to 1989. He also served on the Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority and the Florida League of Cities Board of Directors and Executive Board. Reikenis, who has more than 40 years of infrastructure and environmental engineering experience, is currently active on projects and initiatives in Florida, Africa, and Central America. 

Jacobson is a member of the Florida Bar Association. He has lived and practiced law in Palm Beach County since 1973 when he started his legal career as an assistant county attorney for Palm Beach County. Jacobson specializes in the areas of real estate, zoning and land development, and governmental coordination. Mr. Jacobson has served as a member of the DDA Board twice and has been on the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches.  

Dass is a practicing attorney at Kelley Kronenberg, P.A. where she focuses on homeowner and first-party property cases. She serves as membership co-committee chair of the Palm Beach County Chapter of the Florida Association of Women Lawyers, the National Organization for Women, the Palm Beach County chapter and is a member of the West Palm Beach Downtown Neighborhood Association. 

About the Downtown Development Authority 
The West Palm Beach DDA is an independent taxing district created in 1967 by a special act of the Florida Legislature. Its mission is to promote and enhance a safe, vibrant Downtown for our residents, businesses and visitors through the strategic development of economic, social and cultural opportunities. 

For more information about the DDA or Downtown West Palm Beach, please visit DowntownWPB.com or call the DDA at (561) 833-8873. 

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NEW MURAL FEATURING AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSIC ICONS  COMES TO DOWNTOWNWPB

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (July 21, 2021) – The West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and West Palm Beach Arts & Entertainment District are partnering with Sub-Culture Group and Street Art Revolution to bring a powerful new mural to Camelot at 114 S. Narcissus Ave in Downtown West Palm Beach.  

Titled “The Revolution of the Groove,” the 100 ft. wide by 80 ft. tall mural will portray six revolutionary African American artists who utilized their music to challenge entrenched ways of thinking about social injustice and racism. Featured musicians include Miles Davis, Nina Simone, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, and Billie Holiday. Several of these artists performed in West Palm Beach’s Historic Northwest neighborhood. Work will begin the week of July 12 and completion is expected by August 15. 

The Revolution of the Groove mural is a collaboration between local Street Art Revolution artists Anthony Hernandez and Caron Bowman. Street Art Revolution is a Black-owned artist-led public art collective and firm, one of the few firms of its kind in the United States that specializes in providing highly curated and culturally sensitive public art, civic design, and sculptures. 

“The power of music and its ability to communicate was a vital part of the civil rights movement,” said artist Caron Bowman. “Blues music tells the story of life’s difficulties and takes the hardest realities of black life and puts them into music, only to come out with some new hope or sense of triumph.” 

Street Art Revolution and its artists have been behind a number of murals in Downtown West Palm Beach, including the recent “Icons of the Civil Rights Movement” on display at Respectable Street at 518 Clematis St.    

“These new murals not only bring new vibrancy to Downtown West Palm Beach but also honor the history and legacy that influence our future,” said Teneka James-Feaman, Associate Executive Director of the DDA. “We’re proud to partner with Sub-Culture and Street Art Revolution to further enhance the downtown experience.”  

            For more information on Street Art Revolution, please visit their website at streetartrevolution.org.  

About the Downtown Development Authority 

The West Palm Beach DDA is an independent taxing district created in 1967 by a special act of the Florida Legislature. Its mission is to promote and enhance a safe, vibrant Downtown for our residents, businesses and visitors through the strategic development of economic, social and cultural opportunities. 

For more information about the DDA or Downtown West Palm Beach, please visit DowntownWPB.com or call the DDA at (561) 833-8873. 

About the West Palm Beach Arts & Entertainment District 

The West Palm Beach A&E District is a centralized collection of inspiring arts and entertainment venues; art and history museums; galleries; libraries; performing arts companies; and art education institutions. Situated in the heart of South Florida’s most progressive city, the District includes more than 20 distinct and distinguished cultural destinations that form a defining industry cluster. The A&E District enhances the appeal of West Palm Beach as a visitor destination, drawing attention to its status as a vibrant city illuminated by its beauty and range of creative expression. 

For more information about the West Palm Beach Arts & Entertainment District, please visit downtownwpbarts.com or call the DDA at (561) 833-8873. 

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DOWNTOWN WEST PALM BEACH LAUNCHES APPLICATIONS FOR RETAIL SPACE AT MANDEL PUBLIC LIBRARY

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (July 15, 2021) – The West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA), the City of West Palm Beach, and the West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) today announced that applications for the lease of retail space at 407 Clematis Street will open on Monday, July 19. This premiere space on the ground floor of the Mandel Public Library was previously home to a Dunkin Donuts store.

The desired business to fill this opening will have an innovative and creative approach that complements West Palm Beach’s Downtown Clematis District. Qualified applicants must be a small business with a minimum of two years’ experience in food service operations, an ability to open within 120 days of signing of the lease and have no more than one current downtown location.

“This is a prime space with 900 square feet of interior space and an outdoor patio that will attract a high volume of qualified applicants,” said DDA Executive Director Raphael Clemente.  “We look forward to helping our small business community grow and supporting the success of the next addition to downtown by making grants available to the selected business to aid in covering interior and exterior improvements.”     

“Located inside the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach, this space is a very attractive location in which to do business,” said West Palm Beach Mayor Keith A. James. “The City of West Palm Beach, together with the Downtown Development Authority and Community Redevelopment Agency, remain committed to supporting our business community and to the continued vibrancy of the Downtown. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply through the Downtown Development Authority.”

Once the application period has closed on August 17, a committee composed of Downtown stakeholders as well as leadership from the DDA, CRA, and Mandell Public Library will review and narrow proposals to the top five. The DDA Board will then select the top three candidates who will be ranked and presented to the CRA Board for final review and award. Final selection will be made by November.

Further information on the application and selection process can be found at www.DowntownWPB.com/Work.  

About the Downtown Development Authority
The West Palm Beach DDA is an independent taxing district created in 1967 by a special act of the Florida Legislature. Its mission is to promote and enhance a safe, vibrant Downtown for our residents, businesses and visitors through the strategic development of economic, social and cultural opportunities.

For more information about the DDA or Downtown West Palm Beach, please visit DowntownWPB.com or call the DDA at (561) 833-8873.

About the City of West Palm Beach
In partnership with our communities, the City of West Palm Beach delivers exceptional customer service that enhances quality of life. West Palm Beach is a vibrant world-class city.

About the West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency:
Nationally recognized as one of the most innovative CRAs in the country, the West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA) sets the standard for redevelopment through award-winning marketing and branding campaigns, events and attractive business incentive programs. The mission of the WPB CRA is to enhance the viability, long‐term stability and the overall economic health of the Downtown City Center and Northwood/Pleasant City districts, core areas in the City of West Palm Beach. For more about the WPB Community Redevelopment Agency, visit wpb.org/cra.

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WEST PALM BEACH DOWNTOWN TROLLEY TO RESUME OPERATIONS JULY 1

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (June 25, 2021) – The Trolley is back! The West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and the City of West Palm Beach announce the return of service for the West Palm Beach Downtown Trolley on Thursday, July 1. The Trolley’s three routes connecting downtown to nearby hotspots provide a convenient, quick and free way to experience the best of West Palm Beach.

The Trolley service will return to the same schedules and routes as before the suspension on March 23, 2020.

“Many downtown businesses and organizations are returning to the office, and our restaurants and retail shops are reaching pre-pandemic levels of activity, so we felt this was the right time to restart service,” said DDA executive director Raphael Clemente. “We will also be following CDC guidelines to assure the safety and health of our passengers and drivers.”

“We are excited to resume West Palm Beach Downtown Trolley service with the Downtown Development Authority,” said West Palm Beach Mayor Keith A. James. “The trolley is a convenient, reliable and free method of transportation that connects residents and visitors to jobs, healthcare, education and leisure activities. In line with my work creating a community of opportunity for all, the trolley is important to the economic vitality of our community, the vibrancy of our downtown, and quality of life for our residents.”

The Downtown Trolley was launched by the DDA and the City of West Palm Beach in September 2000. The Yellow Line connects Clematis Street to Rosemary Square, the Kravis Center and the Waterfront. It runs from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday. The Green Line connects Downtown to the Tri-Rail station, Dixie Hwy. and Okeechobee Blvd. It runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Trolley is handicap accessible, runs seven days a week, and picks up and drops off passengers every 15 minutes at designated trolley stops. The Blue Line connects Downtown to Northwood. It runs from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Thursday – Saturday.  The Blue Line picks up and drops off passengers every 30 minutes at designated stops. 

For live updates, guests can download the WPB Trolley Tracker app on iOS or Android. For more information, please visit www.DowntownWPB.com or call (561)833-8873.

About the Downtown Development Authority
The West Palm Beach DDA is an independent taxing district created in 1967 by a special act of the Florida Legislature. Its mission is to promote and enhance a safe, vibrant Downtown for our residents, businesses and visitors through the strategic development of economic, social and cultural opportunities.

For more information about the DDA or Downtown West Palm Beach, please visit DowntownWPB.com or call the DDA at (561) 833-8873.

About the City of West Palm Beach
In partnership with our communities, the City of West Palm Beach delivers exceptional customer service that enhances quality of life. West Palm Beach is a vibrant world-class city.

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