Lila Goldstein

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Photo courtesy of the City of West Palm Beach

Concept art for the Streetscape project shows newly expanded sidewalks, outdoor eating areas, and trees. The goal of these enhancements to Clematis Street is to make the downtown area more walkable and family-friendly, as well as more aesthetically attractive.

For many students, spending their free time in downtown West Palm Beach is common in their routines. Since June, however, the 300 block of Clematis Street—the center of West Palm’s urban scene—has been under construction. On Nov. 1, the area will reopen and Dreyfoos’ neighborhood will see several developments.

The construction project, titled Streetscape, is overseen by a Coral Gables-based urban planning company known as Dover, Kohl & Partners. Their goal is to beautify the space in order to revive the underutilized street and attempt to eradicate problems of crime, homelessness, parking, and vacant storefronts.

The long-term project has raised some red flags from business owners on the 300 block of Clematis Street. As sidewalks were widened to increase outdoor dining space and parking meters were removed to improve walkability, many believe the road will be too narrow to fit two lanes of traffic. This can lead to traffic problems in an already congested area and can even hurt the shops and restaurants located on the street.

The completion of this project will not bring about the end of renovations to the area; there are plans to similarly update the 200, 400, and 500 blocks of the neighborhood around the same time next year.

The Streetscape project is only one of many improvements either planned or under construction in the downtown area. Beginning with the completion of the Brightline station in 2017, the City of West Palm Beach has sanctioned several building projects, like the Broadstone apartments, in order to elevate the status of the neighborhood and energize businesses.

Overall, Dreyfoos may see its city undergo vast aesthetic changes throughout the next few years. If the Streetscape project is successful in its goals, then students may have access to new areas of recreation that are safer and more engaging than spaces ever before seen in West Palm Beach.