Boca Raton Infrastructure and School Upgrades￼
Boca Raton, FL – Last month, I spoke of how hustle helped us bring business and amenities to Boca Raton, including the new Brightline station slated to open in the fall in Downtown Boca Raton. Brightline is just one of our many investments to address traffic and build infrastructure for roads, utilities, schools, and more.
Newspaper articles from the 1960s talk about a traffic problem in Boca Raton, so that has long been a concern. To address it, we are constantly upgrading our technology to better time our traffic lights and, unlike other cities, have synchronized control of all intersections. The North Federal Highway corridor has historically lagged other areas because of limited road connections. I am pleased that we are in the planning stages to connect Clint Moore Road across the railroad tracks to Jeffery Street within the next few years. We have only a few options to link major roadways, and this connection will be a major improvement. We have also invested in more options for bicyclists and pedestrians. This year, we will begin work on connecting our award-winning El Rio Trail with the expanded multi-use path along Palmetto Park Road.
For many governments, from the federal level to nearby cities, one of their biggest problems is infrastructure – failing roads, bursting pipes, and other issues. We have prevented countless problems by investing in these crucial assets year after year. In fact, we are in the midst of a multi-year, half-billion-dollar campaign to upgrade our roads, sidewalks, and network of underground utilities, as part of the City’s Innovative Sustainable Infrastructure Program. The innovation comes from using advanced sensors to detect problems and prioritize areas to be replaced. Boca Square is only one of more than a dozen neighborhoods that have undergone major improvements in the last few years. The upgrades above and below ground are done together to save millions in costs. It also saves residents money each month – our water rates are only a fraction of what some nearby cities charge.
This work on Southwest 12th Avenue in the Boca Square neighborhood was completed in time for the opening last August of the new Addison Mizner School. 2021 was the second of three straight years that we will see a new, state-of-the-art public school added to Boca Raton. We appreciate our strong partnership with the School District and Board Chair Frank Barbieri, and it was that partnership that takes us to our next topic, schools.
Progress continues on the brand-new Blue Lake Elementary, which will be located off Military Trail. For the last two years, this site was used as a temporary school while both Addison Mizner and Verde K-8 were under construction. In August, it will open as the first additional public school in Boca Raton in nearly two decades. How did we get here? Again, it comes back to hustle and partnership.
Boca Raton was already ahead of all other cities in Palm Beach County in getting two of the first seven schools to be rebuilt with sales surtax funds. This school was originally planned to go elsewhere. When that site fell through, we moved quickly to donate 15 acres to bring the new school to our city. We got this new campus only because we seized this opportunity, becoming the first city in at least 30 years to do so. After our initiative, years of planning, and much collaboration, we look forward to the opening in August. Our creative partnership with the District will add nearly 1,200 student seats, serving both the many families in Boca Raton and creating space for more new students as more people move here.
The investments in infrastructure both help us continue to deliver outstanding services and also help our bottom line. Boca Raton again has one of the lowest tax rates of any full-service city in Florida. And when you layer in the additional costs, like the water fees that are much higher in other cities, we see how much more efficiently we serve our residents – with the higher level of service we expect for our city. You can see some great slides showing these savings – and other topics – as part of the recent State of the City address at myboca.us/soc. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any thoughts and stay connected with me on social media @ScottSingerUSA on all platforms.
By Mayor Scott Singer