Published On: Wed, Dec 9th, 2015

Temporary Park at Wildflower Property Not Worth the Investment

In October, the Boca Raton City Council told its staff to look at the cost of opening up a temporary park at the Wildflower site for short-term use.

Earlier this week, the Council rejected the idea of the park, citing the cost, which according to the Sun-Sentinel is estimated to be $313,500, as one of the main reasons.

The Boca Raton Tribune ran a survey regarding the Wildflower property in November in which locals were asked their opinion on what the city should do with the Wildflower property and it showed that 21.96% of the participants agree it should be leased to an outside company to build a restaurant, 60.28% voted for a park to be built, and 17.76% voted “other” specifying their proposals and ideas in the comments.

The council did however, instruct its staff to move forward with the permitting process for installing a floating dock at the site, an estimate that can range from $215,000 to $350,000.

In the survey conducted by The Boca Raton Tribune, many of the readers voiced their opinions regarding opening up a park.

“Incorporate a park that can be altered to fit restaurants, food trucks and public activities,” said Isabel, a participant of the survey. “Prime locations don’t just benefit the city, developers, architects, but presents an opportunity to activate the urban fabric of Boca Raton to manifest a true identity of culture for optimal quality of pedestrian interaction.”

However, Building up the Houston’s restaurant in the property means the city would earn back the $7.5 million that has been spent on the development of the property. Changing the deal, making a park instead of a restaurant, would not help the city to produce enough money to cover the investments.

Displaying 4 Comments
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  1. We do not need a another restaurant! 60% of Boca Citizens want a park. Why is it so hard for the city council to get this. Perhaps money is there god!

  2. A silly idea which had no merit. The issue was proposed (not by the City Council) so that the “anti-everything” folks could become “make it a park squatters” claiming the property was being used when we all know it would never be used significantly if it were to become a park, costing annual maintenance money and generating zero income for the City.

  3. Dave says:

    The reason it “would never be used significantly if it were to become a park” is because Boca Raton doesn’t really know how to build a great park the way true cities like Chicago, D.C. and Boston do. This is a prime location for a Great Park – a Boca landmark – that people WOULD attend on a consistent basis if they had a good reason. The problem is that Boca thinks a pocket park is trees and a few benches. Contrast that to fountains, interactive sculptures, food trucks, interesting landscape architecture, etc. You can absolutely make this a park that people would visit but it would cost a lot of money. And the city has already spent a lot of money on it.

    So yes the best return on investment is a restaurant or similar proposal… but a Houston’s is not unique or priced well enough to not be lost in the shuffle. It just isn’t. You need a Two George’s type of place at the least. Even better would be something highly-themed, or maybe a Dinner Show with magic or dancing or murder-mystery show involved with it. Something that has no equal anywhere else in the city.

  4. Jim Wood says:

    Dave, good points. Boca has built great parks in the past but now relies too much on developers for creativity…and you see the results of that.

    When the purchase of the Wildflower site was completed in late 2009, the mayor stated that it was to be a park for the “thousands and thousands of residents who do not have access to the waterfront.”

    All citizen surveys on the usage of the site, including the Boca Raton Tribune survey, show significant citizen demand for a park. The only survey on the subject that is an outlier and is inconsistent with all the other surveys was conducted by the City and the scoring of that survey was proven to misrepresent the intent of the respondents.

    Boca Raton’s citizens do not want a chain restaurant on the Wildflower site. MAKE IT A PUBLIC PARK!

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