Town of Palm Beach News

State to Require Town to Return $700,000 In Grants

The state of Florida says that it will require the town of Palm Beach to return $700,000 in previously awarded historic preservation grant money if it adds stairs to the back of the Addison Mizner Memorial Fountain. The story was first reported by Palm Beach Daily News.

The state Division of Historical Resources awarded two grants to the town of Palm Beach in 2014 and 2015. One grant assisted with restoring the fountain and the other was for restoring Memorial Park, where the fountain is located.

Now, the Divison of Historical Resources is citing “restrictive covenants” associated with the grants.

According to Timothy Parsons, director of the Division of Historical Reousches and state historic preservation officer, adding a staircase to the historic fountain’s south facade would have an “adverse effect” on the fountain.

In a May 2 letter to the town, Parsons wrote that stairs would be inconsistent with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Preservation and would create a false impression of the Mizner design.

State to Require Town to Return $700,000 In Grants

“The main focal point of the park would be irreversibly altered,” Parsons wrote.

In order to build the steps, a 12-foot-wide, 27-inch-tall section of wall on the south side of the upper terrace of the fountain would have to be removed to extend the terrace onto the steps.

The town informed Parsons that it disagrees with the decision and asked him to reconsider. In an email to Zoning Director Josh Martin on May 21, Parsons agreed to meet with town officials and “take a fresh look at the proposal.” However, Parsons noted that the division reviewed—and denied—the staircase proposal already, in 2014.

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″ … I want to be up-front about expectations,” he warned.

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Alanna Barrett

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