Vision is imperative

Vision is imperative

Over the past few weeks, I have been meeting with a friend who is hard at work on a book about mayors.

The book is focused on mayoral leadership and the author’s premise is that successful mayors articulate or champion a vision, involve the public, put a team in place to implement the vision and exercise political will to ensure that the vision is accomplished when the inevitable opposition to change arises.

It’s all good stuff. But what intrigues me is the author’s premise that cities need to create a new vision every 25 years or they will run into trouble.

I agree with that. And doing the math, I’d say that Delray is due a new or renewed vision.

The best visions are community building exercises in which all major stakeholders are engaged and asked to participate.

Delray’s revitalization began in the late 80s, when a group of committed citizens working alongside city staff developed Visions 2000.

Visions 2000 served as a blueprint for the next decade of policymaking and informed spending for the next ten years. It also enabled the passing of the landmark $21.5 million Decade of Excellence Bond, in which citizens voted to go into debt in order to improve the community.

Why? Because they not only believed in the vision, they helped to craft it. They also had faith in local government to deliver.

The Decade of Excellence helped to usher in a lot of private investment; business owners, homeowners, restauranteurs and developers began to risk capital because they believed in Delray and were excited by the vision. I can think of no more valuable economic development tool than to have an exciting vision.

But you can’t stop at a vision, you have to implement and Delray did so–remarkably well.

When the Decade of Excellence wrapped up and the projects were completed, a new vision for the downtown was formed –again with an inclusive process. While Visions 2000 brought a representative sample of citizens together, the Downtown Master Plan invited everybody willing to show up to the table.

In all, over 500 people participated in the charrette, plus several hundred who visited temporary design studios set up on Swinton Avenue.

Immediately upon completion, a steering committee in charge of the plan, morphed into an implementation committee which prioritized projects and worked with staff and related agencies to get projects designed, funded and under way. The process worked and unlike other cities that let plans sit on a shelf, Delray delivered.

But like everything else in a fast-changing world, visions need to change to meet current needs and aspirations.

As a result of past good work, Delray has a ton of options and possibilities that it didn’t have when the journey started 30 years ago.

We dreamt of creating a place attractive to the creative class and now they are here.

We dreamt of creating a vibrant food and beverage scene and it happened. Now the challenge is to move beyond food and beverage.

We dreamt of creating a walkable community with downtown residential options and mixed use projects and saw it happen.

We dreamt of becoming a cultural beacon for the region and it happened with the redevelopment of Delray Center for the Arts,  The Arts Garage and now Artist’s Alley and other efforts.

Parts of the vision are incomplete and or didn’t quite happen, but a great deal of it did. And it should be a source of enormous civic pride.

But complacency is a killer and cities should never rest on their laurels. Downtown is never done, we used to say. Success is never permanent and hopefully failure is never fatal.

Cities are not a zero sum game, you can concentrate on downtown and the neighborhoods. You can promote West Atlantic Avenue and Congress Avenue.

And you should.


Weekend Best Bets: Jazz, Santana, Stiletto Edition

Stiletto Race Benefits Achievement Centers

Stiletto Race Benefits Achievement Centers

Stiletto Race Tonight
There will be a stiletto race in downtown Delray Beach tonight.
Yep. You got that right; people will be sprinting through the streets wearing high heels.
We aren’t the most fun town in Florida for nothing.
The Second Annual Vince Canning Stiletto Race is actually a benefit for the Achievement Centers for Children & Families, one of our favorite charities.
There will be a variety of categories for those brave enough to run in stilettos.
Among them:
Women’s 75 Meter Dash; Men’s 75 Meter Dash; College Competition; Silver Sneaker 65+ ; Waiter Race; Relay; Sexy Strut; Most Creative Shoe; Costume Grand Supreme.
Races begin at 6 and run through 9:30 p.m. on SE 4th Avenue and Atlantic Avenue.
If you don’t want to run, you’ll certainly want to watch.
Delray Stiletto Race Event Road Closures
During the event, the following road closures will be in effect:
SE 4th Avenue will be closed from Atlantic Avenue to SE 1st Street, 3:00 pm – 10:00 pm on Thursday, November 21st.
For event information, please call (561) 266-0003. For road closure information, contact the City’s Public Information Office at (561) 243-7190 or E-mail

Artists and Entrepreneurs at Artist’s Alley
Tonight from 6-9 p.m., you’ll want to be in Artist’s Alley (near Third Avenue and Third Street in downtown Delray) for their monthly Open Studio and Gallery night.
Great art, friendly artists, wine, snacks and a funky atmosphere made possible by the collection of artists who have breathed new life into a once moribund part of town.
The alley runs north and south between NE 3rd and 4th Streets, east of 3rd Avenue and west of the RR tracks. You’ll also want to check out their new website www.
So what about the entrepreneurs? We’re glad you asked.
Innovate Palm Beach is participating in “Global Entrepreneurship Week” by co-founding “The Art Of The Start”, a fusion of art, technology and innovation. AOS is an officially sanctioned Global Entrepreneurship Week event, and that event is set for tonight in Artist’s Alley.
Over 200 entrepreneurs, startups, innovators and funders will descend upon “Artist Alley” for an evening of networking plus hands on displays and presentations by the Delray Beach’s top entrepreneurs and startups.
The event begins at 5pm with a launch party hosted by 3rd & 3rd. Then the attendees will visit the specially designed host resource center and then mingle with the dozens of artists and makers who will be opening their galleries and maker spaces that evening. There will be live music throughout the event provided by Delray Beach’s own “Arts Garage”. The evening will end with an after party back at 3rd & 3rd hosted by Crane’s Beachhouse with more networking and a few surprises
The goal is to highlight Delray Beach as an entrepreneurial friendly city. To that, this event is co-produced by The City of Delray Beach, The Greater Delray Beach Chamber Of Commerce, The Delray Beach Marketing Cooperative, Innovate Palm Beach and

A Santana Tribute Extraordinaire

A Santana Tribute Extraordinaire

A Tribute to Santana
Carlos Santana is a rock legend.
He’s not coming to Delray. We saw him last week in Vegas.
But his music will be featured during the free Friday Night Concert Series at the Delray Center for the Arts. “Galo’s Tribute to Santana” kicks off at 7:30 p.m.
Galo is an awesome Santana tribute band and you’ll hear all the hits including “Black Magic Woman, “Oye Como Va” and “Gipsy Queen.”
If you love Latin flavored rock and great guitar work, don’t miss this show.
See you at the pavilion.

Trunk Show Benefits Historical Society
If you prefer jewelry design to Santana, we have a selection for you.
The Delray Beach Historical Society presents “Auriolus Art” featuring the designs of Dr. Doug Layton, a master jewelry designer, historian and artist.
This exclusive trunk show will benefit the Historical Society Friday, Nov. 22.
An open house will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 3 Northeast First Street.
A lecture and trunk show will be held from 5 to 8 p.m.
We recently had a chance to chat with Dr. Layton at an Artist’s Alley event. He’s fascinating and this show is highly recommended. Tell Tara we sent you.
For more information, please call 274-9578.

Icons in Delray

Icons in Delray

The Lettermen In Concert
After you perused the trunk show, you’ll want to head back to the Delray Center for the Arts to catch a performance by The Lettermen.
The legend trio are in town Nov. 22, 23 and 24.
Performances are set for Friday, 8:00 pm; Saturday, 2 & 8 pm; Sunday, 2 pm; tickets $45.
One of the most popular vocal groups in music history continues to entertain audiences with their iconic, smooth sound. The trio has seen members come and go over the past 50 years, but group leader Tony Butala has been a constant. Today’s trio includes Butala, Bobby Poynton and Donovan Tea singing the songs that made The Lettermen famous.
For tickets visit

Doug Bell &B Bellevue Cadillac roll into the garage

Doug Bell &B Bellevue Cadillac roll into the garage

Doug Bell at The Arts Garage
If you love a variety of musical styles, don’t miss Doug Bell and Bellevue Cadillac, Friday, Nov. 22 at 8 p.m. at The Arts Garage.
Bellevue Cadillac has been performing nationally and internationally for years and you’ll hear jazz, blues, gospel, Philly Soul and Doo Wop, not to mention some music you may recognize from TV shows. The Bellevue Cadillac’s sound has been used on The Soprano’s, Sex And The City and the film Shallow Hal and Me, Myself and Irene.
Visit for tickets and more information.

Holiday Crafts
We’ve given you music, we’ve given you jewelry, art and entrepreneurs.
But we haven’t forgotten about the upcoming holiday season.
The Southern Handcraft Society Holiday Craft Show and Sale is a must see and runs November 21, 22, and 23 at the Vintage Gymnasium at the Delray Center for the Arts.
Thursday and Friday hours are 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; free admission.
The Pineapple Grove Chapter of the Southern Handcraft Society presents their 21st annual juried craft show featuring a variety of handmade gifts, ornaments, jewelry, woodcrafts, cards, quilts, stitchery, toys, trees, dolls, home décor and tasty treats!

Final Week For A Brilliant Show at The Arts Garage
Don’t miss your final chance to see “The Longing And The Short Of It” a wonderful song cycle about the hilarious, heart-wrenching, and thoroughly messy business of being human; a new collection of theatre songs for our time which has it final few shows at The Arts Garage.
The show, which has received rave reviews features the songs of Daniel Mate”. The production runs through Nov. 24.
For show times and information visit