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This page was printed from : http://www.palmcoastgov.com/council/mayors-message/2013/10

Message From The Mayor

Mayor Jon Netts

October 2013

Palm Coast residents are nothing less than passionate about the beauty of their community – and rightfully so. Many of us moved here because of the serenity that our environment creates - and this includes your City Council representatives.

This brings us to a current discussion – the widening of Palm Coast Parkway from Florida Park Drive to Cypress Point Parkway. As is often the case, City Council is challenged with striking a balance between protecting our scenic surrounds, while at the same time providing improved public roads. Planning for this roadway widening began almost 25 years ago and has finally worked its way up the FDOT work plan to the point of becoming a reality. Widening is necessary to alleviate current and future traffic congestion, improve hurricane evacuation efforts, speed mobility for emergency vehicles, and add dedicated turn lanes and an 8-ft. sidewalk. To widen the road to six-lanes, 395 trees in the city right-of-way are scheduled for removal, with palm trees being transplanted along the Intracoastal Waterway at Waterfront Park and several other locations across the City. In their places, 266 hardwoods and 192 palm trees will be replanted, including species such as Bald Cypress, Eagleston Holly, Crape Myrtle and Live Oak.

The Palm Harbor Shopping Center is another point of discussion. A prospective new owner is conducting a tree survey on the property; the ibbons you see on the trees represent a number count and not trees slated for removal. Presently, drawings of the redevelopment are conceptual, but we hope to see an economic upgrade of his historic area of Palm Coast. Our Planners and Urban Forester will work closely with the owner in a collaborative effort to assure that as many trees possible will be saved and the Center is attractively landscaped.

Many of us who hail from the Northeast are familiar with 'blight flight', a concept which describes what happens when deteriorating shopping centers drag down adjoining property values. In our Prosperity 2021 Vision Plan, City Council has committed to preserve, protect and rejuvenate our older neighborhoods, both commercial and residential, hopefully preventing blight flight from occurring in Palm Coast.

Take a close look at Palm Coast's history for protecting our environment. We purchased and preserved Linear Park,Waterfront Park and Long Creek Estuary. We've built 100 miles of natural trails, upgraded numerous parks, added abundant landscaping to medians and constructed five welcoming gateways to our City. We've preserved and added trees at the new ABC and CVS stores on Old Kings Road to assure commercial properties are aesthetically pleasing. We've won eight national Tree City USA Awards that recognize our City's attention to higher level of tree care for our citizens.

In the end, the goal for all of us is to safeguard the landscape that we've all come to treasure. Establishing equilibrium between environment, transportation and economic needs is a tough balancing act. Please know that your City Council takes its responsibility to this community seriously. Let's all work together to keep Palm Coast a great place to live, work and play.

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