West Palm Beach DDA To Expand Two Successful Programs With Knight Foundation Grants
April 15th, 2022
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (April 15, 2022) – The West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has received grants totaling $35,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to support two successful programs that increase livability and placemaking in Downtown West Palm Beach.
Knight Foundation awarded $25,000 towards the DDA’s Dining on the Spot program, which was created to help businesses expand service into public spaces to allow greater distance between patrons during the restrictions put in place under the COVID pandemic. The funds will be used to offset the cost for businesses to create additional and/or expanded outdoor dining spaces.
“We’ve had many restaurant owners tell us that their businesses might not have survived the pandemic without the Dining on the Spot program,” said West Palm Beach DDA Executive Director Raphael Clemente. “The program was so successful the City of West Palm Beach is now actively working on changes to the parklet ordinance, and this grant will help Downtown restaurants fund the expansion of outdoor dining spaces under the revised ordinance.”
Dining on the Spot has been recognized by the International Downtown Association, Florida Redevelopment Association, PlacemakingX, and others as a model program for urban districts. Based on what was learned through the Dining on the Spot program, the DDA and the City of West Palm Beach went on to develop design guidelines to streamline the process of permitting and installing flexible, adaptable outdoor dining spaces, also known as parklets throughout the downtown area.
Knight Foundation also granted the DDA $10,000 to create a Placemaking Mini-Grant program that awards community stakeholders the ability to plan and implement their own placemaking projects in public or semi-public spaces. It will provide funding of up to $5,000 to individuals or businesses within the downtown area to supplement the cost of doing placemaking projects that engage the community and enhance everyone’s quality of life, from the youth to the elderly.
“A successful place has four key qualities that differentiate it from a common space, it must be accessible, comfortable, sociable, and active for all ages,” said Public Realm Director, Sherryl Muriente. “Providing opportunities for more community-led placemaking programs that focus on wellness, inclusivity, and stewardship, encourages our downtown to be more welcoming and celebrates our local community.”
Among the goals for this program are to build community networks and foster the community’s involvement in activating spaces in their neighborhood, promoting diversity and inclusion, and stimulating community dialogue around shared goals.
For more information about these programs, please visit DowntownWPB.com or call the DDA at (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.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
We are social investors who support democracy by funding free expression and journalism, arts and culture in community, research in areas of media and democracy, and in the success of American cities and towns where the Knight brothers once published newspapers. Learn more at kf.org and follow @knightfdn on social media.