For years now, Palm Beach County has been struggling to deal with its abundance of horse droppings.
We are over-blessed in these deposits due to the Wellington equestrian community. And efforts to stash it somewhere, anywhere, have so far come up short.
About 10 years ago we had a bright idea to put it in trucks and ship 32 tons of horse apples every day into Martin County to be spread on their undeveloped agricultural lands. But for some odd reason, our neighbors to the north turned up their noses on our generosity.
Lesson No. 1: It’s hard to find a team player when tons of horse dukies are in the mix.
Then we had a window of opportunity with Broward County, to the south, which had too much sewage and wanted to establish a one-directional sewage pipeline into Palm Beach County. That might have been a good time to do a little horse trading: A sewage for poo-age deal.
But that link was never explored.
Lesson No. 2: When it comes to giving away poop, you’ve got to think outside the stall.
So the next plan was to come up with a pilot program to create a horse manure recycling facility somewhere between Wellington and Belle Glade. A company, Horizon Composting, was selected and the plan seemed to be on track.
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In an act of selfless civic pride, I helped out, coming up with some tourist-friendly names we could use for the poop plant. The idea was to name it in a way that would make it seem like just another lovely new housing development:
Stallion’s End … Palomino Palms … Barnaggio.
But then farmers complained that they didn’t want a horse manure complex near their fields of fruits and vegetables. That it might be bad for business.
Lesson No. 3: If you’re going to give farmers anything, make it a subsidy.
So now, our county commissioners have scrapped the pilot program and are back to looking for new places to move all that horse poop without anybody getting too riled up about it.
And I think I can help again.
Until now, the general mindset has been to think horizontally by spreading the horse dropping out over a big area.
But it may be the time to think vertically. Small footprint, big height.
I know what you’re thinking: Frank, nobody wants sky-blocking structures.
Wrong. Almost nobody wants skyscrapers. But look at what’s happening in West Palm Beach.
The city is poised to rewrite the downtown zoning code to allow a 25-story waterfront tower off Flagler Drive.
The One Flagler project would be part of a new Okeechobee Business District, and it would shatter a 21-year-old voter referendum that limited buildings to five stories.
Once you put a 25-story view blocker on the waterfront, nobody’s going to even blink at a 20-story horse poop structure next to it.
Lesson No. 4: If you act fast, you can get away with a lot of poop.
Think of it this way: It’s just going from office tower to orifice tower.
And with the proper landscaping, tasteful window treatments and state of the art fragrance engineering, this skyscraper of equine feculence, will appear to be just another one of those coastal high-rises where the residents are never home, and most likely not even in the state.
And yes, I’ve got a name for this one, too.