It’s Peter Gary, publisher of the Boca Voice. Welcome to the late summer edition of our monthly newsletter.
Can you believe it’s August already? If you thought summer would be quiet in Boca, no such thing.
Most breaking news involved development, as Boca continues to evolve from a retirement town to a sophisticated city with high-tech jobs and corporate headquarters.
Brightline, aka Virgin Trains, got a big Boca welcome at the July city council meeting. That fits right into plans to encourage downtown living with new apartments, condos and the Mandarin Oriental hotel with a private city club and nearby Jack Nicklaus golf course going up on Federal Highway.
So, expect Brightline’s plans for a station in Boca to move quickly.
The private train line picked city owned land at the Downtown Library’s parking lot and the adjacent community garden. Mayor Scott Singer always wanted a downtown garage to ease the parking shortage.
The city’s major developer eyed Military Trail north of Camino Real as the next live, work, play area. But after residents resisted, the city backed off developing what’s now known as Midtown. So, Crocker Partners sued. The courts just dismissed their property owners’ protection suit, claiming inaction cost them money.
But the developer of Mizner Park downtown and the Boca Center on Military isn’t standing down. The managing partner said they plan to appeal.
Development has changed demographics in Boca, too. With more young families moving in, school overcrowding became a big issue. So, first Verde, then Addison Mizner grade schools are being torn down and rebuilt as K-8.
A temporary school to house both sets of students is nearly finished. That site will eventually become a new public grade school.
Repairing aging infrastructure is part of development, too. The Camino Real bridge over the Intracoastal closed in April 2018 for a county project supposed to take a year. It’s still closed. A July reopening obviously wasn’t in the works, so we’re now looking at an August reopening.
In other development news, the city sold its municipal golf course in west Boca to GL Homes. That deal hasn’t closed yet. But plans to keep public golf in Boca are on shaky ground, too.
The buyer, Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District, set a tax millage rate 30.7 percent higher. They had to meet a legal deadline and make a B plan to generate more property tax revenue in case the city doesn’t come through.
City council has consistently backed off approving the Price Fazio team’s course design or committing $20 million for construction.
Council has asked other design firms to submit ideas by their next meeting in late August.
Speaking of August. Boca Chamber Festival Days start this month, too. This year, 22 nonprofits pair with for-profits for fundraisers that range from Boca’s Got Talent, to Margarita Mondays, to Battle of the Bartenders.
The Chamber’s annual Wine & All That Jazz cap the month with a spectacular wine and food tasting at the Boca Resort & Club.
Please keep in touch with us at Boca Voice on our web site and Facebook page.
Thanks, and enjoy the rest of summer, hot or not.