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First look at alternate option to Mizner Amphitheater for big events

Will the city move some festivals to deHoernle Park instead of using Mizner Park Amphitheater?  “We’re a victim of our own success, but we want that to continue,” Councilwoman Andrea O’Rourke said as chair of the Community Redevelopment Agency.

The city moved the Veterans Day observance from Boca Raton Cemetery to Countess deHoernle Park/Spanish River Athletic Facilities in November. After the initial skepticism, the move was a hit. “It really worked well,” O’Rourke said.

The subject came up after the recent Boca Raton Seafood & Music Festival attracted 11,000 people. Mizner Park restaurants had many reservation cancellations and appealed to the council to solve the issue.

Larger crowds also translate into longer waits for children’s rides, added Deputy Mayor Jeremy Rodgers at the CRA meeting.

Mayor Scott Singer said he likes the deHoernle option. “There’s plenty of parking at deHoernle,” he said. “Now things compete with our merchants.”  The city already uses shuttles to free parking at city hall and the old library site for city events at the amphitheater. “Maybe we should start using the shuttle system more,” Singer said.

Outside vendors who rent the amphitheater may require a new plan that takes turnout and safety measures into account, he added.

Singer said he’s still pushing for more parking downtown.  O’Rourke asked if the proposal for downtown transit was out to bid yet.  “It’s eminent, getting its final touches,” said City Manager Leif Ahnell.

By Marci Shatzman

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