Brightline’s already designing a station in Boca Raton. That’s how confident Virgin Trains is, that their latest project would be a go. They were right.
City council was all in to pursue the plan after v.p. Brian Kronberg’s presentation Monday. The company hopes to build the station by the end of next year.
Downtown Library’s parking lot and the adjacent community garden is the site they chose, Kronberg said. A parking garage will have reserved spaces on the first level for library patrons, he added. There’s no height set yet for the garage.
A pedestrian bridge will traverse the FEC tracks, which Brightline already uses for its Miami to West Palm Beach run. Retail, like a coffee shop, with apartments above are planned for land east of the station.
“We looked at a lot of properties and we think these are the ideal properties,” Kronberg said. He’ll detail how “a transit district will work” at future meetings, he added.
Mayor Scott Singer asked staff to proceed. But he emphasized this was the first meeting and they have a long way to go.
The company was urged to meet with Library Commons homeowners, who live nearby. Three residents raised concerns about noise, security, traffic and other issues.
Kronberg agreed to meet with them. They’re already meeting with the Junior League over the garden relocation, he said.
Library use by families with small children and seniors worried Cyndi Bloom, president of Friends of Boca Raton Public Library. Small streets leading to the site would have to be widened, she added.
Others voiced concerns about the quiet zones at railroad crossings and property values.
But speakers were largely in favor of the project. Former deputy mayor Constance Scott, who works for FAU now, said the university is on board.
“John Tolbert calls this a ‘game changer,’” Singer said about president/managing director of the Boca Raton Resort & Club.
Glenn Gromann, who led the charge for the station, urged the city “to move forward as soon as possible.”
By Marci Shatzman