Published On: Wed, Dec 7th, 2016

Time To Shift Focus To Municipal Elections

I don’t know about you but I am so done with presidential politics but it seems it’s not over yet as Jill Stein, the Green Party’s presidential candidate, has filed for a recount of the ballots in Wisconsin and will likely do the same for the states of Michigan and Pennsylvania, thus prolonging this election season a but further.

We can only hope all of this is settled soon and our new president can be sworn into office on inauguration day.

Robert WeinrothBut, as the saying goes, as one-door shuts, another one opens. We are now less than four months away from the city’s municipal election. Hopefully the rhetoric and candidate campaigns will be more tolerable at the local level.

As of this writing, there are six announced candidates for three seats. Mayor Susan Haynie has announced she will be seeking a second term. It appears she will have at least one opponent. Marc Allen Brown has filed the preliminary paperwork necessary to begin soliciting supporters for contributions to fund his campaign.

For Council Seat A, Council Member Scott Singer has, likewise, announced he will be seeking a second term. As of this writing, nobody has come forward to oppose his re-election. For Council Seat B, currently occupied by term-limited Deputy Mayor Michael Mullaugh, three announced candidates. Emily Gentile, Andrea O’Rourke and Andy Thomson have an eye on the open seat.

It is unknown if additional candidates will enter the race or, for that matter, if the current announced candidates will “qualify” to run (during the first ten days of January).

Stay tuned! The municipal election will be held on March 7th 2017. There will be no early voting (although Vote by Mail/Absentee ballots will be distributed in mid-February).

There was a time when snowbirds would flock back to South Florida in November. While there are, indeed, residents who returned to our City, escaping the falling temperatures up north, we are becoming less driven by this annual migration as year-round residents far outnumber the residents making their way north each summer.

With Thanksgiving behind us we realize the year is almost over. It seems as good time a time as any to begin looking back at our accomplishments in 2016.

While the downtown can now boast a new Junior’s (straight from NYC), the imminent opening of the Hyatt Place Boca Raton (set to debut in mid-December) and a new 158 room luxury hotel and 90 branded residences managed by the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group (set to open in 2-3 years), the northwest of our city has also begun to receive the attention of developers as our economic picture continues to shine bright.

Adjacent to the Office Depot Headquarters (which, thanks to federal regulators, continues to be a major employer in our community), Schmier & Feurring Properties has been constructing a new shopping center. Some of the names we’ll be seeing there include a 20,000 square foot Fresh Market, Habit Burger, Chipolte, Raw Juice, Burton’s Grill and a new restaurant from Burt Rapoport called Rappy’s.

Just next door, the Arvida Park of Commerce (affectionately known as APOC) is undergoing a rebranding as the Park at Broken Sound as it transitions from a traditional business park to a live/work center with affordable residential, retail and office all in close proximity to Tri-Rail (all designed to reduce the commute for many thereby taking the pressure off of our main arterial highways).

At the intersection of Spanish River Blvd and Military Trail the Kolter Group is constructing seventy new townhouses.

Further north, at the intersection of Congress Ave and Clint Moore Road, Danburg properties is constructing another mixed-use development boasting over 200 luxury rental apartments.

It is exciting to watch our city mature as it continues to attract millennials and retirees alike. As this build out continues, the Council, in collaboration with the county and state, continue to address the issues of congestion on our roads.

Autonomous vehicles, ride sharing and reliable public transportation will change the dynamics of road usage in the near future and planning for those changes is already being done at the state and local levels.

Public transportation will also need to take a more dominant role in moving people. This will require the state and county to find additional funding to upgrade and enhance the schedules for buses and trains to attract more “choice” riders (those who can choose to use public transportation or a private automobile).

With 300,000 new residents arriving in Florida every year, it is imperative for transportation planners to remain nimble as they view the changing transportation dynamics.

This is not the Boca Raton I first visited many years ago. Our city is full of energy offering excellent educational and employment opportunities. It is a place where families can live, learn, work and play. It is a place I am proud to call home.

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