WHY THE CURRENT RIVERWALK CONCEPT?

WHY THE CURRENT RIVERWALK CONCEPT
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Jacksonville

Jacksonville Landing

.Has anyone ever questioned the present Riverwalk concept, its history and its evolution?. Have there been any competing or alternative visions on how to develop that part of the Port Orange US 1 corridor? Who’s vision is this anyway? Have we ever considered an alternative vision that would be more advantageous to the citizens of our community? I would like to propose an alternate vision for a Riverwalk development that would cost much less and provide value to the citizens as well as the production of an atmosphere unique to the greater Halifax area that would make Port Orange the art and entertainment Mecca of East-Central Florida. This vision would be similar to what has been created at the Jacksonville Landing.

The Jacksonville Landing is a 126,000 square feet (11,706 m2) shopping, tattoo, dining, clubbing, and historic museum complex in downtown Jacksonville, Florida.[1] It was built by the Rouse Company at a cost of $37.5 million and opened in 1987.[2] It has been compared to New York City’s South Street Seaport, Boston’s Faneuil Hall or Miami’s Bayside Marketplace,[3] all developed by Rouse.

Instead of building two 170 feet high rise condominiums overlooking Dunkin Donuts, Skips Boots, Seven Eleven, and the US 1 corridor blight, why not have a cutting edge arts & entertainment complex that will provide a wide menu of activity and entertainment choices for our community that drives surrounding business to our municipality.

The current Riverwalk concept has one restaurant called Captain Daddy’s, some kiosks, and a few small divided barely usable parks. I think most of our citizens will not frequent Captain Daddy’s, and those that try it will soon get tired of it. I can see Captain Daddy’s ending up as a favorite lunch or after work cocktail hangout for people like Buddy Lacour, Lance Green, Ben Don Burnette, and all the wannabe politicians, realtors, developers, contractors, and politically connected businessmen. This will become an egomaniacal edifice to special interest figures and a social club for the second generation southern plantation owner’s progeny.

A Riverwalk that excludes the high rise condominiums and mirrors the Jacksonville Landing entertainment complex would cost a fraction of what the current Riverwalk complex costs. There would be many restaurants in different price ranges. You could visit for fine dining, eat at a moderately priced venue, or eat at a venue like Hooters, Chicago Grill, TGIF, etc. There would be a variety of music and entertainment venues for a night out on the town. There could be specialty shops, kiosks, and venues for children and families.

A large central area and park with a bandstand that could accommodate concerts and festivals could be designed.
We could have a cutting edge jazz festival, classical music & wine tasting festivals, Martini festivals, Art festivals, various music festivals & special events. There could be a water taxi service that tailors people up and down the river, so they can come from other locations like the Deck Down Under restaurant & adjacent river front venues, and any accessible venues on the east & west side of the Halifax river. With the millions of dollar in TIF money saved we could redevelop the US 1 corridor eradicating blight and encouraging the development of classy riverfront venues that are linked to the Port Orange Riverwalk Landing by the water taxi service that would tailor people back and forth between the Riverwalk Landing and alternative venues down the US 1 corridor.

The City of Port Orange could employ special event coordinators that facilitate a steady stream of special events that would turn Port Orange into the jewel of Volusia County and the arts & educational Mecca of East-Central Florida. The revenue that this would generate for Port Orange would be awesome and the developers would be lining up for the opportunity to be part of this phenomenon. This centralized Riverwalk Landing from which all else would flow could be built for less than $50,000,000 and could be finished in fours years.

I would like to hear if there is anyone out there that could embrace a vision like this. Feel free to expand on this vision because a truly great vision is one that is subject to critical analysis, evolution, and the consensus building and expansion of ideas that goes into a truly improvisational masterpiece.



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28 Opinions on “WHY THE CURRENT RIVERWALK CONCEPT?

  1. Don Juan, I like this idea! I really like the idea of the water taxi service with dock linkage to other venues along the Halifax River and a redeveloped U.S. 1 corridor with business linkage and other venues spurred on from development funding from the TIF. This water taxi service could eventually have dock linkage even north of Port Orange to riverfront condominium developments in South Daytona, Daytona Beach, and even Holly Hill, not to mention potential riverfront entertainment venues that would spring up to be a part of this new phenomenon. The thousands of residents would be able to go down to the dock behind their high rise condominium complexes and catch a water taxi that would take them to the Arts & Entertainment Mecca of Central Florida Port Orange Riverwalk Landing and all the other wonderful riverfront linked venues down the all new redeveloped Port Orange US 1 corridor.

    Imagine enjoying the day at the Riverwalk Landing and having lunch, doing some shopping in the specialty shops, or stopping in at a venue to listen to some music. In the evening you could either drive your car, take a cab, or catch a river taxi from one of the dock linkages to go out to dinner and catch some night time entertainment, listen to some good music, or go out dancing. You could travel to different venues on the water taxi, and not have to worry about driving, parking, or DUI’s if you had a few cocktails.

    At different times during the year there would be major concert events and festivals similar to the events held at the Jacksonville Landing. It would be great to have multi day events like a major Jazz and Blues Festival that would distinguish Port Orange as the Arts & Entertainment Mecca of Central Florida. These major events could be interlaced with a steady stream of specialty concerts catering to a variety of music tastes and specialty festivals and classy events like art, food, and wine festivals. This is the vision we need for Port Orange; which is not a special interest vision, but a true vision of the people.

    • Let’s not forget the kids- fishing, playing in the water fountains, listening to good music, running around having clean fun that we use to have! I use to watch the fireworks in the river from the old causeway!

    • old article on Riverwalk

      Port Orange officials ‘shake the bushes’ in hopes of fulfilling Riverwalk dream

      Posted Wed, 2011-03-16 04:23

      Courtesy illustration / Port Orange’s long-stalled Riverwalk complex remains is back on the drawing boards, thanks to a unanimous vote of the City Council.

      PORT ORANGE – Hoping to jump-start a stalled plan considered vital for Port Orange’s future, the City Council has unanimously approved asking developers to step forward and fulfill its Riverwalk dreams.

      Riverwalk is intended as a new downtown jewel along the city’s Halifax River shore, extending 35 acres from Dunlawton Avenue almost to the city limits.

      People would live, shop, dine and play at Riverwalk, giving the city another gathering place similar to the Port Orange City Center complex of public buildings, parks and recreation.

      Planning began in 1998, but the national economic recession and collapse of the housing market left scuttled progress. To revive the project, up to $25,000 would be spent on advertising to let developers know the city plans to issue a formal 30-day request for proposals.

      “You gotta shake the bushes. We’ve been at this for almost 12 years now.”

      Allen Green, mayor of Port Orange on continued efforts to make Riverwalk a reality

      A future vote would be needed to issue the formal request for development proposals.

      “You gotta shake the bushes,” Mayor Allen Green said after Tuesday night’s council vote. “We’ve been at this for almost 12 years now.”

      Green said it’s important for the city to get something going after assembling roughly one-half mile of riverfront land.

      “You’ve taken all that property off the tax rolls and you’re still maintaining it,” he said. “It’s negative numbers.”

      The mayor estimated full build-out of the Riverwalk project site would take 15 years, adding, “This is the first step of a long trip.”

      Donald Burnette, a City Councilman, said the timing to seek a developer is good.

      “We’re sitting on the edge of a recovery,” Burnette said. “There are people on the sidelines with money waiting for opportunities to do things. My feeling is if we wait too much longer . . . those people will do other things.”

      Potential developers would not be required to comply with previously approved Riverwalk plans. Those plans included parks, public walkways, high-rise condominiums, a marina, retail and restaurants. Originally, the city envisioned working with one master developer for the entire site who would bring in partners.

      Now the city will be open to any plans, for all or parts of the Riverwalk site from any developers.

      City Council members also want to loosened up a requirement for developers to preserve at least 6.5 acres of riverfront for public access and to revise zoning at the project site to prohibit high-rise towers.

      “They want to wipe the slate clean with regard to high-rise condos and look for a more appropriately scaled project to the area and economy,” said Donna Steinebach, assistant to the city manager. “They don’t want to scare off any developer who might want to bring in a project that requires a private waterfront, so long as we can preserve public access for the waterfront area.”

      Steinebach said she plans to get the “biggest bang for the buck” possible with the advertising money and hopes to keep spending under $20,000.

      • After all these years their is nothing more to show for a final product conceptually than a cartoon drawing of Riverwalk. Your above article tells of restaurants plural, but the only restaurant that I know of is Captain Daddy’s. Captain Daddys and as was recently described at the special council meeting merchandise kiosks.

        One of the things that really struck me is the subtle threat coming from the developer that if the city did not pledge the $10 million dollar TIF subsidization than he might have to cut corners and deliver a substandard Riverwalk. What exactly does a substandard Riverwalk mean? Instead of one restaurant, Captain Daddys would cutting corners mean they would only have a Taco Bell? Instead of 10 food and merchandise kiosks would there be only 5? Instead of two high rise condominiums would their only be one and a half?

        This proposed development does not even seem that impressive if we pledge the 10 million dollar TIF, so if Lacour doesn’t receive the TIF is he saying it will even be worse? Other than a conceptual cartoon there is little evidence that this will be anything more than some window dressing for the two high rise condominiums. In all fairness to open governance it is imperative that we put the TIF subsidization up for a citizen’s referendum vote.

  2. Wow, possibly a Family Days venue, July 4th fireworks, art shows, car shows ?

    It all makes too much sense. High rise condos are not the answer.

    • This is very similar to what I have envisioned for the Riverwalk. Def no condos. Send all these real estate agents back to South Florida!!!! Sorry about ur dog and spoiled granddaughter. Kick Mayor “Hitler” Green out of office!! Keep the small town feel we all love! Just liven things up a bit.

  3. Tremendous idea Don Juan it really makes my day. I could get every which way but loose at the Port Orange Riverwalk Landing. Here are some links to similar arts & entertainment complexes to give us some ideas about a potential layout. If we could all research and refine this idea and hold off on the Lacour-Green TIF pledge, maybe a refined consensus version of this idea that emerges from the citizens of Port Orange instead of special interest can be discussed in a public forum as a competing alternative idea for the development of the Riverwalk property and the refurbishment of the Port Orange US 1 corridor.

    http://www.downtownjacksonville.org/locations/l-55-the-jacksonville-landing.aspx

    http://www.baysidemarketplace.com/

    http://www.southstreetseaport.com/

    http://www.faneuilhallmarketplace.com/

  4. Call the Rouse Company. Ask them their opinion. Likely they would say not interested. We don’t have the population base or demographics to support that type of venue. Heck call anyone. No one else has stepped up in 15 years. Buddy is the only guy willing to spend significant money on the east side of town. May want to stop kicking him, if he walks away, us taxpayers will be stuck paying off the debt with no help from TIF. Best to work with him and get to a project out of the ground.

    • I really question your statement that we do not have the population or the demographic to support a complex like the Jacksonville Landing here in Port Orange on the Halifax River. Jacksonville which is basically all of Duval county has an approximate population of 1 million people with an average household income of about $48,906. The Jacksonville City area is expansive and some of that population would have to travel as much as 30 miles to get to the downtown Jacksonville Landing.

      Port Orange has a population of 57,203 with an average household income of $47,542. The surrounding Halifax area within 15 minutes from where the Port Orange Riverwalk Landing would be located has a population of about 250,000 people with about the same household income as Port Orange. Volusia County has a population base of 500,000 people, a household income of $43,419, and is within 30 miles from Port Orange which is similar to the distance between the extremities of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Landing. Within an hours drive to Port Orange is Flagler County population 99,956, Brevard County population 550, 823, Seminole County population 436,041, and Orange County population 3,110,000. The median household income of these surrounding areas ranges between $40,214 and $75,566.

      From the perspective of number of potential venues on the river and accessibility to both these respective complexes there is not that much difference. In Jacksonville their are riverfront taxi linkage to the Landing from a hand full of condominiums and Hotels along the river front along a few mile stretch. Port Orange could have similar linkages that would be supported by its demographic and has the potential of so much more. We also have the beach which is much closer in proximity to the Riverwalk area than the Jacksonville Landing is to Jacksonville beach. The adjacent neighborhood to the Jacksonville Landing is blighted and is a high crime district compared to the relatively low crime rate in the surrounding areas of Port Orange.

      Another thing that I found quite unusual at a recent council meeting regarding the proposed Riverwalk development is the buzz word statement that Don Burnette used in saying that the Riverwalk high rise condominium develop would improve the existing demographic or attract a better demographic to Port Orange. What kind of a jack ass unqualified buzz statement is that? The average Port Orange household income is $47,542, and the average home in Port Orange is valued at $159,600. This is the demographic of our lower middle class bedroom community of 57,203 people. There is nothing wrong with the demographic of our community, this is not Palm Beach Florida, or Captiva Island, or Marcos Island. These high rise condominium units at $400,000 each cost over 2.5 times as much as the average home in Port Orange which is something that is inconsistent with the demographic of this area. You can go down the river to South Daytona and purchase a riverfront high rise condominium unit for under $200,000. I think that Don Burnette’s unqualified buzz statement is ludicrous and it disrespects the hard working bedroom community of his constituency. Not to mention how does he think that the existing blight down the US 1 corridor will magically be transformed simply because two high rise condominiums are constructed. It is much more likely that the US 1 corridor will follow suit and transform itself in order to become linked to a cutting edge Arts & Entertainment Complex like the Port Orange Riverwalk Landing concept. Their would be more TIF money available to subsidize the redevelopment of the US 1 corridor and the Port Orange Riverwalk Landing would be the catalyst.

      We could call the Rouse Company and get their input about the demographic potential of a development like this and it’s potential success in Port Orange, but at the end of the day, this is something that the master developer Buddy Lacour could partner with the citizens of Port Orange on and receive their TIFF subsidization with their support.

      • The developers are very good at finding the places that those types of concepts will work. We aren’t “off the radar”. Most folks don’t consider Jacksonville Landing a great success. It gets busy on FL/GA football weekend for sure. But I think you’ll find they have significant times when they struggle. Developed does not mean success. Also, a point to consider with our location is the water depth. We are not able to get the big boats in that area, it’s to shallow. That is something all the other waterfront concepts you mentioned have. The economics of having the large boats dock at those types of locations are a huge plus. All that money goes to Ponce Inlet and Halifax Harbour around here. It’s important to know who we are. We are still just Port Orange. A nice quality community but certainly no NYC, Boston or even Jacksonville (they were awarded an NFL franchise for heavens sake). No NFL coming to Port Orange.
        Having said that, when you look at the cities plans to the North of Buddy’s piece, the city park will be a fine area for festivals and events. It’s kinda already their, just not on the grand scale that your hoping for. Reason is nobody is willing to fund the type of project you have in mind.

        • “HAVING SAID THAT” WOW, Where have I repeatedly heard that phrase before? I believe I have heard that over and over again from the dais at city council meetings. Could this be a Freudian slip by Onlooker? It sounds like the phrase of an old crusty southern plantation owner I know. Welcome to the Cub Reporter Allen Onlooker Green!

  5. This is the kind of thing I was hoping for when they started talking about it. Not high rise condos I’d still like to keep the big park at the north end. Name it the Bob Ford riverside park.

  6. What I don’t understand it how the city sold this prime riverfront land in the first place, Secondly how the concept to build three ugly condos got started, thirdly who thought it was a good idea to apportion a tiny part of what was originally Port Oranges waterfront to some disconnected parks? The condo owners surely won’t appreciate kids playing and making noise all over the place.

    Oh stupid me. I ‘ve completely forgotten who pushed this through. It is shocking, utterly shocking that five people in a city as large as ours have alone made such a terrible decision without putting it out for the taxpayers vote. I only hope and pray that it’s not too late to turn things around.

    I love Don Juan’s concept but even if you don’t isn’t it only right that more ideas should have been floated out there before allowing a small factor to decide the fate of our beautiful riverfront property?? Where were the public discussions, panels, ideas, suggestions, citizens comments and input….WHERE??? There were NONE. Thanks Mayor Green for slipping this in right under our noses.

    I say lets put out for CITIZENS VOTE.

    • They’ve had hundreds of meetings at city hall about this over the past 15 years or so. Lots of time for input. Also, had 100 people show up at an advertised public forum this past Feb. to give input on the park design. Be careful what you wish for. It sounds like you are saying the public should have the right to design and dictate what a private developer puts on his land. I don’t think any of us want to live in a country where I can tell you what to do with your land. The zoning is already in place for him to build condos. The mayor has always said, if you want to control it, you have to own it. I’m sure Buddy would sell you the land and let you take a shot at it. Make him an offer. If not, we all need to understand that he has rights. Like most of the issues everyone discuss’s on this site, it’s easy to be an armchair quarterback.

      • I think what those opposed to the present design are saying is if he wants to build his high rise condominium Captain Daddy complex he has every right to but us taxpayers may choose not to subsidize it to the tune of 10 plus million dollars. On the other hand if Mr. Lacour is willing to embrace a vision after much due diligence that emerges from the collective consciousness of the people we would be willing partners that would be happy to subsidize the collective effort. A referendum vote would make this abundantly clear and after January when the new council members are sworn in their majority concensus would also signify that. If the passe dictatorial tyrant Allen Green has his way he will try to foil the voice of the people because if open governance prevails it may just put the kabosh on Lance and His personal interests.

      • what rubs me wrong is that in our city park, the developer with our city council sleeping at the wheel, buys his land, and it is his say what goes into our riverwalk park. First condos the stupid council agreed to let go, and now La Cour has his land and because it is his land in our park he can build whatever he wants? That’s why I call it LaCour’s Riverwalk Park. I will not step inside LaCour’s Riverwalk park to see how nice the city public works dept. is maintaining all that nice greenery in the park for the benefit of the condo people. Developers have rights after they scheme to gobble up prime river front land as a partner? with the city, but citizens don’t have rights? Mary Martin said it some years ago, “We have to be fair to the developers?” Does any one think LaCour has been fair with the city? It is all about him and his investments, and very little about the city’s investments in this deal. I blame Parker and Green for this give away. Parker is gone, but Green is still hanging on so that he can protect LaCour’s investments. Let us have a referendum on giving LaCour 10 million dollars.

  7. Onlooker is correct — Buddy has rights and he should get on with exercising them.

    What he does not have a right to however is taxpayer assistance and concessions such as land swaps, boundary adjustments, parking lots that do meet code, taxpayer participation in infrastructure upgrades and especially not restoring commercial rights to the point which is currently zoned recreation and conversation.

    Buddy with the duplicitous assistance of Green, Kennedy and Burnette has conned the City one inch at a time to meet his next demand and his next and his next. That has to stop and hopefully it will with the election of Kennedy’s replacement.

    The only good thing about Buddy’s ugly three 17 story Soviet style housing project complete with above ground parking garages is that it has zero chance of ever happening.

    He needs to be told in no UN-certain terms that the public is through with his con and that he needs to go ahead and build what ever he is entitled to with no further concessions OR otherwise sell his land for what it will fetch on the open market.or sit on it for another 15 years if that is his pleasure.

    • A couple of thoughts…
      …Ted’s opinion is not necessarily wrong, just his thoughts and his position.
      …I don’t think any of us can say if giving Buddy TIF is a good thing or a bad thing. We need to know the math in a cenario where he does not build anything to fully understand the cost of not working with him. We currently have significat property off the tax rolls under city or CRA ownership. These properties do 2 things 1) generate no taxes because the city doesn’t pay tax on property that they own and 2) have significat debt payments. So basically, we lowered our income and increased our expenses in the Town Center / Riverwalk area. It’s kind of like quitting your job and buying a bigger house at the same time. A tough spot to be in. But what’s done is done and we must figure it out. Finger pointing does no good.
      …beyond that, if we have a longer perspective, if we did give Buddy TIF money, that would end in approx 22 years. After that the city gets all tax money from then on. That has a value for sure.
      …also, the discussion whether the condos will sell or not sell is only a discussion between Buddy and his investors / lenders. When all is said and done, if they don’t sell, the bank will foreclose on them and the bank will be on the hook to pay the taxes. If they don’t pay the taxes, the tax certificates will be sold to investors. Somehow, the taxes will be paid and the city will be made whole. That’s how our system works.
      …lastly, don’t forget that the city is developing a 4 acre park just to the north of Buddy’s piece that will be the area for the concerts, festvals, ect… and the city still has significant property is the southern block of the Riverwalk area which will be another area for development in the future. The condos only make up about 25% of the entire Riverwalk area and are just a piece of the puzzle.

      • Ted, that approach to the LaCour problem, and he is the problem in this Riverwalk Project, is a good approach. Let him start building and get out of the tax payer’s pockets.

        Finger pointing reminds us of who has wronged us and is worthy to remember if that person is still around. Ok, you got me, it is true that Parker is gone, so I should forget about him, at least in my posted opinions.

  8. Onlooker is correct Buddy has already received rezoning approval for his condo’s.therefore there is nothing to stop him from building them. But Ted is also correct that he has not received any of the $10 million TIF funding approval yet.

    Early on in the planning stage’s for this project LaCour’s connections and friendship with the Mayor was a big help in getting the necessary city approvals for its concept. But as a result of the public’s distrust with all the Mayor’s past wheeling and dealing on the project it now appears that his connection with the Mayor may be detrimental to advancing any additional concessions from the city.

    Perhaps it may be a good time for Buddy to sever his ties and throw the Mayor under the bus.

  9. It is amazing how little people know about property rights. Don Juan Matus makes a suggestion and some think that is the solution. Property owners have rights. LaCour and his backers have commercial and residential building rights to that property. Perhaps Don Juan, Margaret, Henry, R. Woodman, and Bob Ford can pool their money and buy those rights to put in their project. Ain’t happening folks. When the pieces to that property were up for sale anyone could have stepped in and bought them. They were purchased for the value that existed at that time. All investors have lost money down there, Buddy, the city, the CRA. Ted completely understands that concept and he is correct in thinking the project should stand on its own merits without TIF support. But I see at least 4 votes on the CRA board so don’t be surprised to see it pass on July 22. Maybe it should pass. Pay off the debt first and split the TIF from that point forward.
    It would be better than what is down there now.

    • I think it should pass and likely will in some form or fashion. What I don’t think any of us understand is the cost to us if it doesn’t pass. That would mean another 15 years of limited revenues, large debt payments, significant property off the tax rolls, ect… I think that’s the hidden cost that no one understands. If it happens not to pass, it very well could end up that the vocal few win the battle but lose the war and not really know it. Basically, if they stop this from happening, we could end up costing ourselves more out of pocket money than what we would give to the developer with “new money” TIF. We must understand the dollars and cents of both scenarios, not just take a stand on “not funding a private developer” because it sounds right.

    • Interested 3 is not necessarily wrong, just his thoughts and position. Everyone knows property owners have rights. Did anyone say they didn’t? They can pave paradise and put up 17 story walls if they want to. No one said they couldn’t. We don’t have to like it just because they can. I like the concept that Don Juan introduced. Maybe if the developer read it he might re-think his plans. It certainly makes better sense. We all have opinions and you know what they’re like but thanks to the first amendment we can voice them. I agree with Ted, let the project as planned, stand on it’s own merits if it can.

  10. I have communicated the vision of the Port Orange Riverfront Landing to Don Juan Matus during our convergence in the nagual. The vision has also been transferred to Don Genaro and Carlos. We are inviting you to join us in the nagual and embrace the convergence of improvisational genius that we may together bring forth in the tonal and manifest the vision.

    These terms denote two “parallel” worlds that comprise the universe — the world of material objects (tonal) and the non-material world (nagual).

    We communicate with the world of matter through the so-called first awareness, i.e. the one which is carried out through the sense organs of the physical body.

    To become able of cognizing the nagual, one has to develop the second awareness, that is, clairvoyance.

    The following is some additional information from the nagual that I will share in the convergence with Don Juan Matus:

    Waterfront Destination

    1. Surrounding Buildings Enhance Public Space

    Any building on the waterfront should boost activity in the public spaces around it. Ideally, there should be a mix of uses, with seamless interaction between inside and outdoors. High-rise towers that lack any public uses on the ground floor are noticeably out of place along rivers, lakes and ocean fronts. They usually create a wall that physically and psychologically cuts off the waterfront from surrounding neighborhoods.

    2. Limits are Placed on Residential Development

    Great waterfronts are not dominated by residential development. Why? Because these are places that are full of people, day and night. They are the sites of festivals, markets, fireworks displays, concerts, spontaneous celebrations and other high-energy gatherings. A high concentration of residential development undermines the diversity of waterfront use and creates pressure to prevent nighttime activity from flourishing.

    3. Activities go on Round-the-Clock and Throughout the Year

    Waterfronts that thrive year-round will reap substantial community and economic benefits. Rain or cold is no reason for a waterfront to sit empty. Creative programming can take rainy and winter weather into account, and smart use of amenities can provide protection from inclement weather. Likewise, people enjoy being by the water at night if appropriate lighting and special events make them feel welcome and safe.

    4. Flexible Design Fosters Adaptability

    Successful waterfronts must adapt to many changes that bring different users at different times. Programming and management are helpful in serving diverse audiences, but flexibility must also be built into the design of the place. Instead of a permanent stage, for example, which is well-used in the summer but not the winter, a retractable or temporary stage could be used. Likewise, it is important to have on-site storage for movable chairs, tables, umbrellas, and games so they can be used at a moment’s notice.

    5. Creative Amenities Boost Everyone’s Enjoyment

    The best waterfronts feature amenities that increase people’s comfort and enjoyment. A bench or waste receptacle in just the right location makes a surprising difference in how people choose to use a place. Lighting strengthens a square’s identity and can draw attention to specific activities, pathways or entrances. Public art is a great magnet for children of all ages to come together. Whether temporary or permanent, amenities help establish a convivial setting for social interaction.

    6. Access Made Easy by Boat, Bike and Foot

    Waterfronts flourish when they can be accessed by means other than private vehicles. In Sydney, Stockholm, Venice, Helsinki, and Hong Kong, people head to the waterfront via boat as much as by land. You can dramatically enhance the character and experience of a waterfront when it is easily reached in ways other than driving. Access by foot and bike are a crucial element of the transportation mix, which is why many of the most beloved are crowned by pedestrian promenades and bike lanes. People feel more at ease when not overwhelmed by traffic and parking lots, creating a climate that fosters a full breadth of waterfront activity. Where streets are absolutely necessary for commercial deliveries, or access to retail or marine uses, they should be designed to minimize their impact on pedestrian safety and enjoyment, and always be closed for events and festivals.

    7. Local Identity is Showcased

    The greatest waterfront destinations are found in cities that truly orient themselves to the water. Venice and Stockholm are defined by their waterfronts, and residents and visitors alike naturally gravitate there. Making the most of local identity, history and culture stimulates widespread interest in the waterfront and creates a unique sense of place. Frequent opportunities to appreciate local art, music and theatre helps draw a community together around the waterfront.

    8. The Water Itself Draws Attention

    The water itself is the greatest asset of any waterfront, and should become the centerpiece for programming and activities. This can include traditional marine uses such as a ferry terminal or fishing port, which helps preserve a place’s identity. Additional activities may include water-taxis, boat tours, restaurants or bars on anchored boats, fishing, rock skipping, floating pools, kayaking and swimming. Many of these activities not only attract users to waterfront but also generate interest among onlookers. Embracing the natural uses of a waterfront leads to thematic programming such as boat festivals, fish markets, bait and tackle shops, and performances on floating stages.

    9. Iconic Buildings Serve a Variety of Functions

    Iconic, attention-grabbing buildings that reflect a human scale and do not detract from the surrounding context can be a boon to the waterfront, so long as they serve a variety of functions. On a recent weekend morning in Stockholm, the busiest building along the waterfront was, surprisingly, the City Hall. Surrounded by a plaza, park, and courtyards, this landmark shares its slice of the waterfront with a pier where boats embark on waterfront tours. Clearly, this City Hall (where the Nobel Prize banquet is held each December) is more than a one-dimensional icon, it is also a good neighbor exhibiting a strong sense of place. Today’s iconic buildings should strive to achieve the same flexibility and public-spirited presence.

    10. Good Management Maintains Community Vision

    Management is essential to ensure that a successful waterfront stays that way. Cities could adopt the model of the Business Improvement Districts (BID) that have been successful in restoring and maintaining the vitality of many downtowns and commercial districts. A “WID” could forge partnerships between city agencies, property owners, waterfront businesses and community organizations in the surrounding district, so that waterfront programming–such as temporary exhibits of local artists or music performances– gives the place a unique character. Such an organization would be very helpful in sustaining a diverse variety of activities and events throughout the year and implementing programs that can be used to generate revenue that benefits the waterfront as a whole.

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