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Old 07-15-2010, 07:15 AM
 
Location: SE Florida
9,368 posts, read 23,879,218 times
Reputation: 9426

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Okay, to get this out of the way- yes, there are many issues with the city, including serious budget issues that color everything. However there are opportunities for change on the horizon, so that is not a deal breaker for me.

I've lived most of my life in NE Broward and never knew anything much about Lake Worth. I'd drive through on Dixie or US 1 and never really thought much about the city. But now that I live here, I have gotten the real flavor of Lake Worth and I feel like I am home.

It's a funky, eclectic, diverse place with a small, but strong business community and Chamber. The downtown streets of Lake and Lucerne are alive with shops, eating and drinking establishments. Yes there are vacant storefronts, not unlike most other places these days, but the downtown area is still alive. Even on a Sunday evening folks are out and about.

Other than a grocery and drug store, there are so many things right at your fingertips. We went to church Sunday, walked to Toojays for breakfast and then to the bank to use the ATM.

I laughingly call it Mayberry with an attitude. I can walk to the office and along the way am greeted by passers by. I go into the shops and not only have a conversation with the shop owners, but with fellow customers. In the short time that I've been here, I've met many people that now wave to me from across the street and fill me in on all the fun things going on. Between the art studios/galleries, antique shops, small clothing stores and other owner-operated shops, I will have places to explore for quite a while.

My kids can walk downtown and to the beach. My son joined a pickup game of soccer at the park on the Lake Worth Lagoon. Two dozen Guatamalean men and teens and my very anglo son. They spoke little English and he speaks little Spanish, but they welcomed him and now he wants to go every afternoon.

The church that we attended has five congregations, including spanish and creole-speaking congregations. The pews aren't full in the service that we attend, but the folks that are there are diverse in every way. They play a powerful role in reaching out to those in need and you are just as likely to be sitting next to a homeless person as a business owner. I like that.

Housing is very affordable and there are some charming older homes that have been restored and have so much personality. There is also opportunity for folks to buy a home at a ridiculously low price, fix it up and live in a city that is on the cusp of something great. Real homes in real neighborhoods.

An old friend came to visit and he was blown away by Lake Worth. A longtime south Florida resident, he, too, had never really stopped here, but drove through on his way to West Palm. Now he is considering moving his practice here.

It's easy to talk about the negative of the area and so never really get a chance to know what Lake Worth is about. If I hadn't landed here on as temporary basis, I doubt that I would have made the time to get the vibe of this city. It's alive, has a bit of everything, the location can't be beat and it is incredibly affordable.

This Friday evening from 6 - 10 they have "Friday on the Avenues", with stores staying open late, live music and much more. If you're looking for a chance to get out, come give Lake Worth a look see and enjoy the breezy evening on the Avenues!
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Old 07-15-2010, 09:19 AM
 
17,288 posts, read 27,520,393 times
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I love the entire area of east of I-95 --- from downtown West Palm South through downtown Lake Worth. It feels very authentic to me in many ways, and split my time in both places. In many ways, I find downtown Lake Worth to be more vibrant than Clematis Street.
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Old 07-15-2010, 10:06 AM
 
Location: S. FL
7,114 posts, read 11,165,208 times
Reputation: 10101
Wow I have to say I'm surprised about your shockingly good time in Lake Worth. I haven't spent enough time there to really know the people or the town. But I've had to stop there once or twice for a specific store that we had to go to. It looks very nice. Glad your enjoying it! I wish I could be back but I have to wait!
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Old 07-15-2010, 01:17 PM
 
623 posts, read 1,200,143 times
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Thank you for all that info! I've never been to lake worth. are your kids going to public or private schools? Schools obviously playing a major decision in our choice of towns and cities. So glad you're loving it. Making another trip to SFla this month, are there any hotels you'd recommend?
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Old 07-15-2010, 03:40 PM
 
Location: SE Florida
9,368 posts, read 23,879,218 times
Reputation: 9426
Hotels- I haven't seen the rooms, but the Omphoy has a great restaurant and lounge and is right on the ocean. I think that they still have a half off deal due to the slow season. It's in south Palm Beach, but minutes from Lake Worth. The chains are all around- a Marriott in Delray a block from the beach. It's nice and breakfast comes with the room. Also in Delray is the Colony, a cool, restored hotel right in the heart of the shops and restaurants of Delray. Breakfast buffet is very nice and comes with the room. Rooms can be tiny, so if you are getting a single, ask for one of the larger ones at the end of the hall. Very neat, but I wouldn't want to spend a week in a room with a double unless it was just for one. Colony allows dogs for $25 and Marriott charges an extra $100 a night for dogs.

Yeah, schools..... that is the only fly in the ointment. My kids go to middle and high school and Lake Worth's aren't good. (I have heard that there is a very good elementary school, however) The reason that I first chose Boca was BC of the well-regarded schools. Now I am doing a 180.... and my kids come from a small private school, so they will have an adjustment under the best of circumstances.

I THINK that what I am going to do is enroll them in the Lake Worth public schools if they can't get a transfer to a magnet or charter school. We may be too late for those options. Honestly, I am totally operating by faith and intuition on this and, if need be, may end up looking at FL Virtual School, but I want them to give the local schools a chance. They will have made friends through church and I will be active in their schools. I figure that even schools with poor grades have students that excel and go on to college and do great things. I also think that a big part of the low grades for these schools is probably BC there are so many students that don't speak English as a first language.

If it doesn't work out, the experience in itself will be life changing for them. For the first time in their lives, they will be the minority. As long as they don't come home with red or blue bandanas.... (do gangs even wear bandanas any more?!) and they keep their grades up, I think it will add texture to their lives.
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Old 07-15-2010, 03:52 PM
 
623 posts, read 1,200,143 times
Reputation: 148
Well said. I meet lots of well educated, successful parents who tell me they went to the worst 'school' in the area. It's probably more important parents do lots of the 'work'. I'm sure it will all work out. PM me, anytime , I' d love to chat more about this and the area. I can't believe I haven't had the chance to enjoy LW yet.
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Old 07-15-2010, 07:08 PM
 
Location: SE Florida
9,368 posts, read 23,879,218 times
Reputation: 9426
Thank you, RV. If you do have an RV, I know we could find a great place for you and yours to land for a bit right near the water. No HOAs, no problem
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Old 07-15-2010, 08:53 PM
 
623 posts, read 1,200,143 times
Reputation: 148
LOL, no rvs, just a lot of chatter.
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Old 07-16-2010, 10:13 AM
 
Location: Downtown Lake Worth
98 posts, read 391,480 times
Reputation: 66
Great write up! I moved to downtown LW from WPB this year and love it! All you said is spot on. Maybe I'll bump into you walking downtown
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Old 07-16-2010, 04:45 PM
 
Location: South Korea
5,242 posts, read 12,243,014 times
Reputation: 2953
I grew up in Lake Worth though my family moved to Wellington when I was 12. A lot has changed in downtown LW in the last 10-15 years though some stuff like Toojay's, the library and some other stuff has been there forever. In the 80's and early 90's a lot of the storefronts were boarded up and there wasn't much going on. In the late 90's more bars and restaurants and shops started opening up and it became much more of a downtown but everything was pretty down to earth, now when I go there there is a lot more new stuff that can be really chi-chi but it's still pretty relaxed.

There's always been a lot of poor people all over LW which I guess attracts crime though unfortunately, but a nice downtown like Lake Worth has is pretty rare in Florida. Plus it's close to the beach which is nice.
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