Council Corner Looking Back – Looking Forward

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By: Councilwoman Andrea Levine O’Rourke

In my most recent New Year update I have given a more in-depth account of current issues. For full details please visit my website and read my most recent blog entry at andreaorourke.com. Here’s a snapshot view of some topics…

Transparency

The City Council recently agreed to the idea of seven initiatives that will ultimately be finalized into Ordinance 5431. This will serve as a means of promoting greater transparency regarding councilmembers’ procedures for requests for advisory ethics opinions.

Schools

It’s getting complicated. As our city continues to grow and change, it has come to the forefront that our schools are suffering from our success. The recent awareness that many of our schools are at, or over-capacity is a concern. Calusa Elementary, Boca Middle and Boca Raton High School being at the top of this list. Currently our schools are A rated, however we must pay close attention as we move forward to maintain excellence in education in Boca Raton. I have asked for the creation of an Education Task Force focus on specific issues at hand.

Art in public places

I am so proud to be part of the movement that is now bringing Public Art to Boca Raton. The idea of what art and beautiful architecture does for a community has been sadly overlooked for much of Boca.  However, this idea of a ‘sense of community’ and “place making” has been an inspiration to me…and will soon be part of our City.  We have approved an ordinance to set policy and will be appointing an Advisory Committee in early February.

Boca’s waterfront

The city has hired renown landscape designers EDSA for consulting on the design/upgrade of 13 waterfront parks.  This would include the connecting of all parks along the Intracoastal “blue way”.  Wildflower/Silver Palm can facilitate the connection of other parks and the beaches to our downtown.  This is a great “Placemaking” opportunity.

Downtown

Traffic and parking have been an ongoing problem…not easily solved. A presentation was given discussing the possibilities of creating one-way directional on both Dixie Highway and Federal Highway, similar to Delray.  Through grants, studies will take place. Full implementation would not occur until 2024 due to; planning, engineering, the involvement of multiple government entities, and the possibility of eminent domain proceedings.

We are lucky to have some alternatives… Round the Town Rides-electric cars 561-303-9173 and Boca Bike Tours-Pedi cabs 561-288-4511 have both been welcomed additions to help connect areas of downtown without the worry of traffic and parking. Park easily near downtown and call them for rides to restaurants, events or more info.

City government campus

Song + Associates are the consultants hired to take a comprehensive look at the potential of the future of our city campus.  Our main buildings are undersized, worn out and in need of an update.  The campus would include city hall, community center, police station, parking, outdoor public space, recreation and a potential entertainment center.

Ocean Breeze

The defunct golf course in the Boca Teeca community has been the center of much discussion. At this time, the Greater Beach & Parks District is committed to the purchase, with the support of the city to back the funding.  The goal is to preserve precious green space and to “Keep Golf in Boca”.  We are in the process of an Inter-Local agreement to move forward and jointly complete this purchase of what will be Boca Raton National…a world class, championship municipal golf course.

Municipal golf course sale

The majority of City Council agreed to sell the old Municipal Course, west of the turnpike, to GL Homes for $65 million. This property is outside the Boca Raton city limits.