Last month, I discussed some of the goals that came out of strategic planning sessions for maintaining a healthy economy in Boca Raton. This issue will focus on recent improvements to our delivering real results for residents for the roadways, schools, and utility systems we count on every day. The City of Boca Raton is consistently working to make sure these key systems and assets function at a high level. The goal is to ensure we have the peace of mind we want, the improvements we need, and the quality of life we deserve.
Roads: The City and other governments continue to invest in improving our mobility. The last few months have likely seen the greatest milling and repaving of roads in Northwest Boca Raton’s history. All the major roadways in this area should have completed paving projects by the time you read this. Both the City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County worked on our respective roadways, creating improved lanes on five major thoroughfares: Clint Moore Road, Yamato Road, Spanish River Blvd., Jog Road, and Military Trail. We timed the work to minimize impact during the slower summer season and to complete it for the start of the school calendar.
In addition, several state projects are nearing completion. In September, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is due to complete the new Clint Moore Road Bridge over I-95. The City has been working on long-term plans to connect Clint Moore Road to Jeffery Street across the F.E.C. railroad tracks, which will connect Northeast Boca to the rest of the major grid. Further south, we’ve seen the extensive work by FDOT at Glades Road and I-95, in preparation for the installation later this year of a Diamond Diverging Interchange. This new technology may look a little odd, as drivers drive to the left of opposing traffic for a small stretch. The benefits, however, are fewer left turns, which reduces crashes and travel time. Boca Raton is one of the first places in the state to have an DDI of this size.
Schools: August 10, 2022 saw the opening of the brand-new Blue Lake Elementary School – the first additional public school in Boca Raton in more than a generation. As a reminder, 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, this 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.
In addition, we continue to work the Palm Beach County School District to coordinate on issues of school safety and traffic flow, as we entered into the first long-term agreement to provide officers to assist the independent School District police force responsible for the schools. We also respond to concerns from neighborhoods, like Broken Sound, about traffic flow from an increased number of parents choosing to drive to school rather than use buses. A reminder to us all – school is in session – please take extra care and slow down, especially when school zones flash their lights for reduced speed.
Other Infrastructure: The City of Boca Raton continues its multi-year program of upgrading our road, utilities, water lines, sewer lines, and other infrastructure as part of our Innovative Sustainable Infrastructure Program (ISIP). We are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to prevent issues, which is why our water and sewer rates are less than one quarter of the costs of some other peer systems. As a bonus, we are doing all this work while keeping one of the lowest property tax rates of any full-service city in Florida.
Recent projects include the continuation of ISIP projects in the eastern side of the Boca Square neighborhood south of Palmetto Park Road. Also, with the Brightline station due to open in late fall, we are investing in improving pedestrian connections from the station to the heart of our downtown. We also recently approved hardening of a key facilities building to better withstand storms. Let this be a reminder to make sure that you are prepared for hurricane season. Historically, more than 80% of East Coast hurricanes have come after August 1, so while the season may be nearly half over on the calendar, we still need to be ready for what may come and possible storms. Be prepared and read more at myboca.us/beprepared.
We are fortunate that with our safe and successful city, we can focus on the priorities that matter to residents and deliver real solutions and meaningful results. We develop a plan of action and then step by step, deliver on these priorities to solve problems. Serving as your voice in discussing and then acting on these important issues is what continues to fuel my commitment. I’m running in the upcoming March 2023 mayoral election to help see more of these goals to completion and keep working to raise and exceed expectations for what our great city can be. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what we can do together to reach our goals. Please share your comments, by email at [email protected],or on the web at singerforboca.com, and stay connected for more news @ScottSingerUSA on all social media platforms.