If you don’t think Brightline’s serious about a Boca Raton station stop, think again.
The Virgin Trains company was in town Thursday, talking with Councilman Andy Thomson. They’ll be back Monday to present before city council at a workshop.
“I met with Brightline at City Hall,” Thomson said. “I believe they met with all the council members. I happened to be the one they met with today.”
Mayor Scott Singer initiated talks with the company in the spring, and now they’re fast forwarding talks. Thomson’s not surprised.
“Having a Brightline station in Boca would be a huge benefit for the city. I’m optimistic that we can make it happen,” he said. “They seemed really interested in having a station here over anywhere else.”
Will they have to buy a new station site since they’re a private entity? Thomson’s not sure.
“That’s the complicated part,” he said. “They want to put the station on city property where the Community Garden currently is just west of the Downtown Library. Those are details that will need to be hashed out.”
The mayor said if that happens, he’ll relocate the community garden.
Before the train company stepped up Boca plans, Glenn Gromann was leading the charge with interested parties and residents.
“I was able to advance this discussion through grassroots efforts in contacting the media and starting the “Bring Brightline-Virgin to Boca!” Facebook page,” Gromann said.
“We need to support Mayor Singer and city council members who support the Brightline station. It’s critical for the city as a whole.”
A station would reduce traffic and increase property values, he said.
“It’s a logical progression of work I did for nine years on the Downtown Boca Raton Advisory Committee and five years on Planning and Zoning,” he said about his impetus for getting involved.
“Brightline is only here based on our success downtown. We can’t squander this opportunity.”
By Marci Shatzman