State of the City Address Shows Progress and Details Future Plans for Boca
By: Aaron Tefel
Photo by: Jeremy Rodgers/Facebook
On Tuesday June 7, Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie delivered her State of the City Address at the Boca Raton Community Center to inform the public about how far the city has come in the past year and to discuss future developments that are currently underway.
The meeting was hosted by the Federation of Boca Raton Homeowner Associations and was open to the public to hear about upcoming plans, stay informed about the community, and to participate in an open forum at the end. This open forum allowed interested attendees to gauge any questions or concerns they might have for the mayor or any of the other guest speakers present at the meeting.
Before Mayor Haynie spoke, the beginning of the meeting was about the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University and how this establishment has brought about a variety of benefits to the city of Boca Raton. With this in mind, the public was asked to keep in mind about all the good the Research Park has done and why it needs the community’s continued support.
Since its founding in 1985, the Research Park at FAU has promoted innovation and aided the economy of Boca Raton. Currently there are 19 companies located within the Research Park and there are over 1,700 workers at the institution. Through collaboration and a strong unified vision, the Research Park is able to generate about $755 million that directly impacts the economy every year.
The conclusion of this segment of the presentation reminded attendees that the Research Park will continue in its plans to expand. It has 14 acres of land left to develop, where the plan is to use this property for its Healthcare sector.
Following the discussion of the Research Park, Mayor Susan Haynie proceeded to deliver her State of the City Address.
She stated that today’s city issues are the same as the ones it has been facing for almost 50 years. She used a quote from Boca Raton News that dated back to the 60’s to sum up her point, “…traffic flow, speed limits, zoning, high-rise apartments, architectural review standards which relate to community appearance, disposal of city-owned land and parking problems in Downtown business area.”
Haynie used this quote to give the public an idea of what she and the Boca Raton City Council plan to do in the coming year to remedy issues similar to those described above.
Some of the top priorities of 2016-2017 are the upcoming Wildflower decision, the restoration of Lake Wyman Park, and the 20th Street Area Conceptual Master Plan to name a few. Additionally, some of the high priorities for 2016-2017 include the Red Reef Park Master Plan, the Downtown Open Space Policy, and the Rental Housing Registration and Inspection Program.
While there seems to be a lot on the plate for the city of Boca Raton in the coming year, Mayor Haynie also talked about all the accomplishments that have occurred over the past year as well.
Mayor Haynie said that Boca has been able to show economic growth in that over 8,400 jobs were created and retained throughout 2015-2016. 2015’s Boca Raton Bowl held at FAU Stadium had an economic impact of $10.4 million with 2.5 million viewers in tow to watch the game. Among the other accomplishments from this past year include the development and implementation of an economic plan that leveraged $4.3 million in investments into $14.2 million in incentives.
With a successful year in the books, it seems that Boca Raton’s future will be just as bright through the continued efforts of Mayor Susan Haynie and the Boca Raton City Council.