Waterfront Visioning Charrette – September 19th


Well-deserved Kudos to all involved…..

Congratulations to the organizing committee led by Council Member Scott Singer and committee of architects and residents* for presenting our community the opportunity to express their feelings and be heard for what may be the future for a Palmetto Park waterfront vision!!!

It is important to note that the spark that lit the fuse came from the trio of Andrea O’Rourke and architects, Margaret Fitzsimmons and Jose Barrera when they presented original concepts to City Council a few months ago, proving that resident’s voices can be heard.

After an introduction by Councilman Singer, the professionally planned out visioning session was facilitated by architect Kenneth J Hirsch. Attended by some 150 people, the evening was nothing short of terrific.  Divergent community voices were treated to a professional presentation of ideas and visions illustrating what the waterfront parcel, both north and south of the Intracoastal Bridge might be.

Featuring a pictorial of over 86 visuals of waterfront applications worldwide, from full blown restaurants to a Shake Shack, to interactive park  features and recreation. The audience was assisted in coming to a finale of the ten (10) most chosen visuals to provide guidance for the City Council and staff to consider in the furtherance of a Boca Raton waterfront community vision.

Here’s some of the winners…

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Slide 1Slide 1Slide 1Slide 1Slide 1Slide 1Slide 1Not merely a choice between an urban green space versus a stand-alone brick and mortar restaurant, the process demonstrated that there is no need for such a stark choice but rather that, with imagination and vision, divergent interests may all be served; Boca Raton can have a park and eat there too!!! – Earl Starkoff 2016.

The room was filled with enthusiasm, the evening magical.  Missing was any sentiment of how or why the community is at this critical juncture; missing was any blame for the past and the present but throughout the evening there was one common denominator, the collective vision of the future.  Missing, however, were important participants in the public discourse to date.

No official presence from the Chamber of Commerce; no official representative of the Hillstone group; and, although noticed as an official City Council workshop, no other City Council member was seen in the audience.

BocaWatch was present.  Inserted below is an edited version of the evening’s activities along with the slide presentation used to generate what may become the seeds for a new community vision; a vision of what, with imagination, might be.

Waterfront Visioning Presentation

Nothing can capture the sense of place, the sense of community that was felt throughout the evening…but BocaWatch hopes that some of this is appreciated in future community conversations leading up to the November 8th ballot question preserving, for recreational use, all the public’s land along the intercoastal and preventing the continuing trend in our city of the unbridled development on each and every parcel of available greenery.

Here is a video capturing the presentation for anyone who was unable to attend:

So I leave you with this reminder….Get out and Vote on November 8th Remember, once the green space is gone to commercialization, to a stand-alone restaurant with over 70% an asphalt parking lot, the green space is gone forever.

Your vote is your voice…Let your voice be heard….

VOTE YES FOR ORDINANCE 5356 and preserve the public’s waterfront for all to enjoy and for all the generations to come….

*A special thanks to the committee, along with Councilman Singer who made this possible

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  1. It is 7:00 AM today September 28th in Greenville SC.

    Nancy and I came here to visit Greenville, SC because we remember just how fantastic the effort has been to preserve the river and parks along the river. It’s well worth a trip here to see the magic of art in the downtown, an effort the whole of the community has made to make this a walkable and vibrant city for now and the future. It is growing like mad with condos and business – but – keeping and adding small parks as a focal points.

    I’ll report my phone conversation with the Economic Planner for Greenville’s Chamber of Commerce. They don’t think the way Boca’s Chamber does. “In Greenville our river park and the effort to bring art to the public makes us a place business wants to locate” Lots of pictures to share. It’s all about preservation of their gift of nature – The River – and making it a focal point.

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Hurray for Scott. Hurray for the committee. Hurray most of all for the citizens who cared enough to express their passions and viewpoints. This is democracy at its best and I hope to see a lot more of it


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