West Palm Beach Celebrates Waterfront Anniversary - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

West Palm Beach Celebrates Waterfront Anniversary

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) West Palm Beach is finishing up a big party Sunday night. It's been one year since the city completed renovations to its waterfront. City officials are marking the occasion with a huge celebration.

Thousands of people attended the free event; however, it came at a price for the city: $75,000 and not everyone is sure it was the best use for the money.

The hit group, the Spinners, took to the stage as people danced, clapped and sang along. Sunday night's concert was just one of many attractions drawing thousands of people to West Palm Beach's waterfront. Kids of all ages enjoyed checking out the original Batmobile, while the brave taste-tested spicy samples from the annual chili cook-off.

"It gives people a chance to come out and enjoy themselves. They're all so happy," said Gerri Bennett of West Palm Beach. "They're all happy to be here."

Businesses, like Pizza Girls, are happy to see them, too. Sales are more than twice that of a normal Sunday.

"This is to showcase the waterfront. It's being utilized for exactly what it was built for," explained Phoebe Reckseit of Pizza Girls.

This showcase has a pricetag of more than $75 thousand for the one day event. Not everyone is sure it was worth the money.

"Maybe not or maybe," said Kisha Hadley of Coral Springs. "I'm not sure, but it's a nice event."

Jackie Frank of West Palm Beach had a great time with her five year old son, Luke, but she also has reservations.

"With the economy right now, I don't know," she said. "I think we've got some more pressing issues like education and healthcare. That's what I'm concerned about."

Mayor Lois Frankel defends the city's decision to hold the celebration, adding many private donations helped with expenses.

"It's coming from the downtown property owners and the businesses that will bring in good money when we bring in these kinds of events," she said.

"It brings the economy to the area. People spending their money, which they're doing tonight," said Ralph Bennett of West Palm Beach.

The fireworks display cost about $25 thousand to produce. City officials say most of that was absorbed by sponsorships. The city is hopeful the people watching those fireworks will be back to enjoy all the waterfront has to offer.

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