This article, originally published by Al Zucaro on BocaWatch.org, is preserved for historical purposes by Massive Impressions Online Marketing in Boca Raton.
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Your voice was heard. You matter. Public sentiment was made clear by everyone who participated in this weekend’s Patch Reef Park poll. When we put it up on this site Saturday night it was obvious how getting responses wasn’t going to be an issue. Many of you helped by sharing it on Facebook. Your help there made a big difference. Word got around quick.
We had expected to put the call-to-action about the poll on Tuesday’s email blast. After Monday night it became clear we shouldn’t; we didn’t have to. The deal between the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Parks District and the Nadal Organization was officially taken off the table today. There’s no point in asking you to take the poll – the issue is history.
The reason? Public sentiment became impossible to ignore. We’d like to take credit for it, but we really can’t. This is just a website, words and pictures glowing on screens. What matters is YOU. Without your participation, participation here, participation in City Hall and participation in the voting booth none of this would matter.
There’s nothing worse than publishing something nobody reads, publishing something few people are interested in, publishing a poll that nobody participates in. This is only worth doing because of YOU. You read this – we can see that. You are interested in our content – we can see that. And thank you so much for participation in the poll. We can see what’s important to you, and we’re glad to see just how much we’re all on the same page. It’s nice to know.
Some conclusions are in order. Let’s explore what we learned.
- It seems like the participants were very pro-green-space. People don’t like the idea of their parks getting paved over, getting concrete instead of trees.
- Only 8% of the participants indicated that green space preservation is not important to them. The rest, 92%, stated how green space preservation drives their vote.
- Since Legal Counsel is such an important element to defending green spaces we asked if this role should have a special responsibility to use legal powers for preservation, not to promote development. The people expect counsel to be a steward of the land, not an exploiter of it.
- Even when a project has strong merit people still choose to have legal counsel refrain from speaking on its behalf if it threatens green space.
- Rafael Nadal didn’t really have as many fans as you’d expect for how well known he is. If he did then they would have flooded our poll to add more “yes” votes. It makes you wonder if he could have actually been the draw the project’s proponents claimed it would be. Where were those anxious students?
- The BocaWatch audience isn’t shy about filling out polls that matter to them.
Are there any other conclusions you see when you look at the results of the poll? Is there anyone who let you know about it on social media who you want to thank here? Let us know in the comments. Thanks again.
It is nice that the Boca Beach and Park District has come to it’s senses and stopped trying to destroy a park that is used by thousands for the sake of a tennis camp. Those of us that play and I do, just want a local place to have fun and get some exercise.
Congratulations, I personally was very impressed with the energy and momentum of our community to get involved. Don’t stop now, there is more work to do. For Patch Reef, the buildings are due for an update, and the community will decide what is needed. The Beach & Park District will fund the design group to seek community input, and fund the project. The community needs to provide input, which should be designed for the long term, and be flexible to changes is sports. Its your park!
The first time I saw you was in that Council Candidate meeting in the annex years ago. Thanks for maintaining your motivation and momentum to serve. It’s no small thing. Thank you so much for your service to our parks. It matters a lot, not just to a few of us, but apparently to lots of people. When I was a Park Ranger I used to dread getting assigned the Patch Reef detail because back when it first opened it was so boring. Nobody used it back then like they do now. Now it’s really alive all the time. The community has grown into it more and more; used it so much. Now that it’s a place of fond memories. People get attached to a place because it has meaning to them. All these places in Boca have meaning, much more meaning than they were built with. I think this makes people reject things that might seem like genuine improvements. So anything new has to be approached gently. I know a lot of people are going to get mad at me for saying it but I will anyway: I lived in Hollywood, to the south. The taxes there were virtually the same as in Boca. It blew my mind how Boca can have all this amazing stuff yet still charge the same taxes as Hollywood. You all do a lot with a little. Maybe getting a little more to work with wouldn’t be such a bad thing. There – I said it.
The upgrades to Patch Reef Park would be great! It seems as though some people would prefer an aging and underfunded facility just to keep it less crowded. Before completely fighting the idea, it would have been good to just negotiate more green space. Or at least have an open dialogue about key public concerns.
The Nadal Academy would be an amazing benefit to the next generation of kids who show an interest in tennis.