Boca Raton leaders set goals for year ahead

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By: Marisa Gottesman Associate Editor
Boca Raton council members know what tops their to-do list this year.
The council recently hosted its annual strategic planning sessions and set the city’s top and high priorities for the year.
Highlights from the list include: creating a lively downtown, giving residents more access to the waterfront, building a college district and renovating the city’s outdated local government buildings.
There will be some carry over from the city’s 2015-2016 goals. Overall, Mayor Susan Haynie said the city did pretty good in completing its goals from last year.
“Some of these we knew would take more than a single year,” she said. “We initiated everything.”
The city achieved its top priorities of creating a communications division, implementing interim downtown parking plans and made its building and permitting process easier for residents by moving it to an online platform.
In the works are coming up with a comprehensive water front plan, a college district and a city campus assessment plan, which are also listed as 2016 goals.
Of the city’s high priorities, a majority of the goals from the list were also achieved.
The city hired an employee to deal solely with economic development, increased the number of staffing positions and plans to add more and has improved the lines of communication with the airport authority.
The council has plans to work with Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council to develop 20th St. and various city leaders have met with representatives from the city’s Beach and Parks district to come up with ways to work better together.
Of the new goals, some are already scheduled to be discussed.
When it comes to the renaissance of downtown Boca, the focus will be on traffic concerns. Council members will be tackling this goal soon as they are scheduled to hear results of a downtown traffic study in June. The city also has plans to conduct a parking study.
Council members will address the waterfront and ways to make it more appealing to the public in several areas. The city wants to revamp Red Reef Park, an oceanfront park, with a cafe. Currently, the park has a picnic area, camping grounds and a nature area. Some council members feel it is underutilized.
Another key decision will be what the city decides to do with the former location of the Wildflower nightclub. The waterfront property has been vacant for years with negotiations between the city and Hillstone Restaurant Group going back and forth for months.
A third waterfront topic includes discussing adding more water actives at Lake Wyman Park, 1500 NE Fifth Ave.
Some of the carry-over goals include plans for 20th Street Corridor where the city wants to see a walkable area with cobblestone roads, places for students, startup companies and places for entertainment. A study of the area is currently in the works.
Another carry-over goal includes what to do with local government buildings including city hall, police station and other municipal service buildings. Upgrading the outdated spaces to give residents and the city a more modern vibe is of top priority this year.
TOP PRIORITIES for 2016-2017
A City Campus Master Plan/Evaluation & Report
A Decision on the “Wildflower” property
A Comprehensive Waterfront Master Plan
A Conceptual Master Plan for the 20th Street area
A Decision on Lake Wyman Park
Finalizing an Agreement with the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Parks District
HIGH PRIORITIES for 2016-2017
Downtown Traffic Study
Decision on Pattern Book (Downtown Design Guide)
A Master Plan for Red Reef Park
A Review of the Downtown Open Space Policy
Execution of a Campus Agreement with FAU
A Rental Registration & Inspection Program
PRIORITIES for 2016-2017
Annexation: Policy Direction & Actions
Downtown Parking Study Update
Water Area Regulations: Legislative Advocacy
Special Events: Review/Inventory/Policy