About Palm Springs
Back in the 1957 Florida Legislative Session, State Representative Ralph Blank, Jr. of Palm Beach County introduced a bill to charter the Village of Palm Springs in the middle of Florida's second land boom.The bill was passed unanimously with little questions asked.Should his colleagues have bothered to ask of the proposed new city's assets, Blank would have had to explain that it consisted merely of 700 acres of fine pastureland, a large, but modern, dairy barn, and population totaling zero… in humans that is.However, by August 1958, when the first section opened, some 800 modern homes had been constructed on high ground, neatly landscaped and paved streets with sidewalks.
One of the original developers of Palm Springs also owned the Palm Springs Shopping Center at 10th Avenue North and Congress Avenue for many years.With the nucleus of that first chartered government consisting of several of the original developers as council members, the first job was the financing and construction of one of the finest air-conditioned community buildings constructed in Florida at that time.
When the two-year-old building was formally dedicated in February 1960, the ribbon cutter was Mrs. Dominick Papaleo of 137 Keller Drive, who with her family was the first to move into a home in the village.The Papaleos owned a pizza parlor at the farmers market on Congress Avenue.At that time, the farmers market was a real one where the farmers brought in their produce to sell.
At completion, Village Hall had nearly 8,000 square feet, including the patio, portico, and colonnades in front, which stretched the entire length of the two winged building, with native foliage, and providing offices for the village clerk, building official, tax assessor, tax collector, and space for Fire and Police Departments, as well as a meeting room, which seated 100 people.The complex was on a 10-acre community center plaza, which housed an extensive recreational facility.
September 1959, the Palm Springs Elementary School opened with facilities accommodating 600 students.Later, Jefferson Davis Junior High School (now Palm Springs Middle School) had its opening in 1962, and the John I. Leonard High School was added in 1965, as well as a second elementary school, Clifford O. Taylor / Kirklane Elementary in 1970.
The first church to open was the Community Reformed Church, which remodeled the only existing structure when the village was originally chartered in 1957 - the dairy barn located at 153 Henthorne Drive.Today, this is the Christ Community Church.Next was St. Luke's Catholic Church and later Faith Presbyterian, Palm Springs Baptist Church, and Temple B'nai Jacob were constructed.
The Greenwood Shopping Center on Congress Avenue began with a 34-acre complex centered by a Publix Supermarket as the first of the original 30-store center, with parking for about 1,000 cars.
The Palm Springs post office (yes, we had one then!) branch was a boon for city residents as was the first banking facility which came to the area.
A number of civic organizations were formed in these early years of the village, such as the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Little Leagues, Volunteer Fire Auxiliary, Home Demonstration Club, and an active Jaycee organization.The Palm Springs Garden Club was formed in 1962 and began a beautification program for the village.This organization has remained in continuous existence since that time and still meets at Village Hall.
Charles J. Taylor Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4360 was chartered in October 1962, and the auxiliary to Post 4360 was organized in May 1963.In addition to aid to the disabled veterans at the Veterans Administration Hospital, the auxiliary sponsored the annual Little Miss Palm Springs contests.This post leased the building behind Village Hall in July 1964 and still remains there and active in village activities.
Planning for the Future
In 1997, the Village was a full-service municipality with a small town atmosphere covering 1.6 square miles (700 acres).The population had reached the originally projected 10,000, with two thirds of the residents living in single-family homes and the balance in a mix of condominiums, town homes, and apartments.
Palm Springs was primarily a residential community with minimal commercial properties.The council, led by the newly-elected Mayor John M. "Mike" Davis, set a vision for the future of the Village which would require expanding the boundaries to bring in more commercial development, keeping a tight rein on financial budgeting and spending to keep the village financially sound and expanding the village services to keep up with the new areas without losing the level of service the village residents were accustomed to receiving.This was not an easy task, but this Council was made up of professionals who were up to this challenge.
Since early 1998, the council's plan has been moving forward at a brisk rate.The boundaries of the village are expanding to include Congress Avenue going south currently to Lake Worth Road; west on Lake Worth Road to meet Military Trail; Military Trail on the east side to meet Forest Hill Boulevard; east on Forest Hill Boulevard to eventually meet Florida Mango Road; then south along the west side of Florida Mango to eventually meet 10th Avenue North.The village's current population is approximately 19,769 and still consists mostly of families with young children, who take full advantage of the many youth programs available.
Around this time, as part of the council's vision for the future, plans were in the works to develop a municipal complex in a college campus design to include a new Village Hall, a new public safety building, improvements to the existing Palm Springs Library building, and improvements and expansion of the recreational fields and balance of village property.
In 1999, the residents of the village viewed this plan with positive feedback and voted soundly in favor of the Bond Referendum to support this plan.Construction on the new, two-story Village Hall was completed in July 2003, with completion of the public safety building and renovations on the library in 2004 / 2005.
Due to again keeping a tight rein on the budget for this complex, the Village was able to also add a water park, additional playground, a covered pavilion with tables and a free-standing restroom pavilion within the municipal complex across from the sports recreational fields.
A former maintenance building was also able to be renovated into a building now used for camp programs through the Leisure Services Department.Forward thinking when designing Village Hall allowed for additional space on both sides on the second floor which is undeveloped, but will be there to meet the future needs of the departments in the village for years to come without having to add on to the existing building.
The long range plans of the village and its council are to preserve the quality of life and high level of services, which have been the cornerstones of the village since its inception.In some communities, the children grow up and move away. In Palm Springs, the children grow up and move next door.The residents of Palm Springs can continue to look to the village employees and the Village Council for dedicated commitment to making the village "a great place to call home."