The Indian Trail Improvement District plans to finish up several projects and initiate a few more in 2015, including better traffic control devices and the completion of the Acreage Community Park southern expansion.
ITID President Carol Jacobs said she was surprised and glad to be named president for another year and will use her position to the fullest to get projects going and see them finished.
“There’s some issues that I want to press to get done,” she said. “That’s why I had a meeting today with [District Manager Jim Shallman] and the professionals on Acreage Community Park for our workshop on Jan. 7.”
Her top priority for 2015 is traffic calming, in light of recent serious accidents and an anticipated increase in traffic from new development.
“I want to get going on traffic calming,” Jacobs said. “That’s really important to get started ASAP, and get it ready for the following year’s budget so we can budget in even more traffic calming.”
Jacobs also wants to move forward on seeing that every paved road has a sidewalk and finish the Acreage Community Park expansion, a dog park at Downers Park and a bathroom at Hoefl Park, as well as Acreage entry signs.
“The ‘Welcome to The Acreage’ signs, we’re still having problems with the county, but we want to get them in place,” she said, explaining that the county has to get agreements from property owners. “We picked locations, we’re just waiting for the county to give us the blessing that they’re all right and they’re ready to be installed.”
The delay on that project irks Jacobs. “Those should have been up last year,” she said. “It makes me upset when someone is basically doing it for free for you and it takes a year or so to get them approved.”
Former ITID Supervisor Mike Erickson volunteered to design the signs, and the district will install them, Jacobs said.
One of her personal goals in the coming year is to get a water testing program for residents, possibly in cooperation with a local vendor, to find out the quality of their water and the depth of their wells. “That’s just my thought,” she said. “I don’t know if we’re allowed to do that.”
She plans to talk to the Palm Beach County Health Department and ITID’s legal staff about implementing a program where residents can have their water analyzed for contaminants and see if their wells need to be deeper.
“I’m hoping to get a lot accomplished,” she said. “It started out already before Christmas, and I’m sure [ITID staff] didn’t all appreciate coming down here today, but I want to get going, and the year goes by real quick.”
Purchasing more road graders, training more employees to use them and developing a program to control dust on roads is another priority for Jacobs. “That is affecting the animals and the people during the dry season,” she said, explaining that some stretches, such as 130th Avenue North, are especially dusty. We’ve had a lot of complaints from residents. I’m on a small, dirt road, and I keep my windows shut all the time. I don’t open them because of the dust.”
Jacobs said she thinks the supervisors are working well together, and she wants to work to heal the community after a strong division among residents over the Minto West project.
“Hopefully the division from Minto will be over with and we can bring this community back together, because we have a great community,” she said. “The community has been so divided, and I want to see us come back together.”
She also wants State Road 7 completed to Northlake Blvd. after years of opposition and litigation that have stalled the project. “Whatever we need to do, we need to do it to get State Road 7,” she said. “It’s very, very important.”
She pointed out that Ibis residents — where SR 7 extension foe and West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio lives — cut through The Acreage to reach locations to the south, when they would otherwise have a straight shot on SR 7.
“Coconut Blvd. used to be dead until they built Ibis and the rest of them,” she said, explaining that residents on Northlake currently take Coconut to Orange Blvd. and Royal Palm Beach Blvd. to Persimmon Blvd. to access the existing SR 7 extension. “You would expect those residents would want it to go through.”
Palm Beach County is set to open a new segment of the SR 7 extension from Persimmon Blvd. north to 60th Street, and then continuing west on 60th Street to Royal Palm Beach Blvd. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 7 at 10 a.m. at the project’s southern end.
That opening is expected to take significant traffic off interior roads in The Acreage, but not Coconut and Orange until the extension is finished to Northlake.
Shallman said paving projects top his agenda for the coming year, including 140th Avenue North from Orange Blvd. to 61st Street, Tangerine from 140th to Avocado Blvd., and 61st Street from 140th to Avocado. He said the projects are a combination of residents’ requests and improving general traffic flow.
“Residents have been requesting them for years on a couple of them, and it’s definitely to improve traffic flow, consistent with what’s coming in with the county and everything else,” he said.
He is also working on completion of the “Welcome to The Acreage” signs, which will be lit with solar power. “We’re about to put the first one in,” Shallman said, explaining that not all the signs have to get residents’ signoffs.
He agreed that traffic calming will be a big priority in light of serious accidents that have occurred recently.
“Traffic calming is a big issue this year,” Shallman said. “We’re just about to finish up a district-wide traffic calming study, but based on some of the dangerous accidents that we’ve had, we’re also going to look at some short-term, less expensive traffic calming that seems to be effective. So, hopefully we’ll get something going on that in January.”