Those who hold us back. . .


Driving to and from Lake Worth via Lake and Lucerne is, well, frankly depressing and unacceptable as this is a major artery in and out of our city. I decided to take a closer look at the most egregious culprits by taking a walking tour.

While the entire area west of City Hall suffers from widespread neglect, graffiti and general disrepair, three or four properties stand out as emblematic of the “back seat” this part of our city has taken. Let’s take a closer look at these properties:

1306 Lucerne

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wtlw4Owned by Lake Worth resident Greg Rice (although still in brother John’s name according to PAPA), 1306 Lucerne appears to have been a garage of some sort. Grey paint has been roughly applied to the front of the white building to cover older graffiti and new graffiti has now been sprayed over it. Weeds are growing up the walls and the roof appears to have fallen in. In short, it is an eyesore.

There is nothing wrong with anyone buying and holding a property in hopes of selling it at profit in the future, however owners must be made to take better care of their property.

1220 Lake Ave.

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wtlw11Owned by Stacey Roherty of Lake Worth, this house across from the Shuffleboard Courts is a disaster. The building appears to be undergoing renovations, however a “stop work” order is posted on the front door. The siding has been stripped off the structure exposing hopelessly rotted wood. The building is completely unsecured with broken windows allowing easy access to vandals and squatters. According to property records Ms. Roherty owns several other adjacent properties.

1213 Lake Ave.

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1213 Lake Ave is the “poster child” when it comes to blight in this area. The building looks as though it has suffered a fire. The street level windows and doors are covered in plywood while all of the upper story is open to the elements. This building stands out as a symbol of blight on a road that thousands of people travel everyday to come to City Hall, downtown and the island.

A search of the property records shows that 1213 is owned by GR Rentals; with principles listed as Vikram and Bina Thakkar, who are also Lake Worth residents, by post office standards, anyway. Again, I don’t begrudge anyone making a profit through wise and honest business practices, but leaving this building in this condition for so long is simply unacceptable.

Why is this being allowed by and in our fair City?  Well, at a CRA workshop about two months ago the Deputy responsible for assisting code enforcement informed the CRA that there is no ordinance for the maintenance of commercial buildings, leaving the city with no enforcement capabilities.  The very next day the Mayor, Commissioners and City Manager were asked to place this item on the agenda for future action. We can only hope they recognize this small step will not only clean up the blight but also generate sorely needed revenue through fines.

It hasn’t happened yet.

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2 Comments on “Those who hold us back. . .”

  1. Lynn Says:

    Great job, Tom! If we went block by block, we would have years of material to write about. Sad but true. For a city with so much going for it, how did it get this way? You can see that it is not the poor who have created the blight but a city that is allowing these property owners to get away with a full frontal assault of neglect.

  2. Greg Rice Says:

    Tom,
    If you drive down Lucerne in the next couple of days you’ll see the old building mentioned in your blog having been painted. I am not replying to pat myself on the back but just to let you know my brother and I have had that place painted ever 5 years since we’ve had it. The painter has had it scheduled to be painted but is just now getting it done. We could have sold that property a few years ago to a Catholic organization for some kind of mentoring center. We didn’t sell it because we felt that that was not an appropriate location for that kind of business, as we are all seeing now with what has happened since the shuffleboard courts were given to the group for the employment center. It has not made the conditions in the western part of town any better. We still have as many men on the streets looking for day jobs and if it weren’t for the slow-down in the economy we would have even more un-documented people coming into town using up taxpayer funded resources and services. Today, because of the disproportionate percentage of rental homes, men hanging out on the streets, and the graffiti in the area there aren’t a lot of people who are willing to open a business in that area. Thanks for your concern and effort in trying to make LW a better place to live.


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