Leonard Mitchell: 1996 – 1997
Lamar Shuler: 1997 – 2005
James “Jimmy” Weatherspoon: 2005 – 2011
Reginald “Reggie” Cox: 2011 – 2015
Joycelyn Patrick: 2015 – 2016
Charles “Chuck” Ridley: 2016- Present
In 1993, the City of Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) organized the first phase of a community planning effort by inviting numerous community members to a series of organizational meetings to discuss the concept of developing a West Atlantic Avenue Redevelopment Plan. (WARP) The initial charge of this steering committee was to develop a process and strategy for the planning effort. The steering committee participants referred to themselves as stakeholders in the resulting process which was termed “Visions West Atlantic”. “Visions West Atlantic” was a forum for a series of community meetings held over a two-year period that ultimately produced recommendations concerning redevelopment issues for West Atlantic Avenue. These recommendations form the backbone of the West Atlantic Redevelopment Plan, which was adopted by the City in 1995.
The community “visions meetings” recognized that the need to facilitate the redevelopment of West Atlantic Avenue could not stop with completion of the plan. After a series of discussions, the group established the need for oversight and a project manager to implement the plan. WARC is a nonprofit organization that was created in 1996 to advise the CRA and City on redevelopment issues in the West Atlantic Neighborhood. A staff position was created to facilitate the monthly WARC meetings, act as a liaison between WARC and the CRA/City and focus on the implementation of objectives and strategies in the plan.
Over the years WARC learned that community and economic development of social cultural rich historic Black neighborhoods present major challenges to the planning profession related to community benefit efforts pertaining to social equity. Most planning professional’s, municipal organizations, and institutions, because it’s easier, focus on infrastructure, bricks and mortar. Even while focusing on the physical aspects of redevelopment, The Set lags behind all other districts as far as economic prosperity. In 2011 WARC made a commitment to re-engage the NW/SW Neighborhood Alliance into the coalition and reconfirmed the recommendations of the 2003 SW Neighborhood Redevelopment Plan during the 2012 Community Needs Assessment Workshop held at Village Academy.
Using the WARC 2014-2017 Strategic Plan as the guiding doctrine, WARC has began to explore transformation methods that will empower the residents, of The West Atlantic Neighborhood now branded, The Set, to become a part of sustainable prosperity and building wealth by participating in the planning process from formulation through full implementation of priority recommendations. WARC knows that, City Hall is not the sole answer to neighborhood prosperity, and a cultural change must take place that empowers people to see the stated vision in their lives. A Transformation Plan that invests in the people within The Set as the core component, as opposed to just allocating dollars for projects, is the answer for equitable prosperity.
As the new management team, first introduced in the 2003 SW Neighborhood Redevelop Plan, WARC is prepared to continue advocating acquiring the necessary resources and expertise for the Board to manage where applicable and provide an oversight role when necessary to fully operationalize The Set Transformation Plan. Moving forward WARC seeks to lead the coalition efforts towards a theory of change that will lead to a self-contained community that contributes to the overall success of the City of Delray Beach.