Is development, even what some call “overdevelopment” bad for downtown Boca Raton. I think not. Perhaps we should ask the downtown businesses; restaurants, small medium and large retail shops, service businesses, banks, etc. Except for the two hotels, all else is residential. Follow the bouncing ball…. Residents eat in restaurants. Restaurants are successful and flourish. People in the outlying areas, come to town to dine. While here they spend money in one of the businesses…..The businesses flourish….everyone wins. Many of the business owners move downtown and the cycle continues. Oh you say, but what of the traffic?? So what ?? Cool it. If it takes one or two light cycles to get through the intersection, so what ???? There is no law that says you must park directly in front of a business. For gosh sake, find a parking spot and walk. Not only will everyone benefit, but the walking may be good for you. Then you may live longer, and have even more time to enjoy downtown, and the cycle continues.

The pundits are fond of saying they represent “the residents”. No you don’t. You may represent a small portion of the citizens of the City of Boca Raton, but if for one moment you don’t take into consideration the many, many thousands of people who inhabit ‘central’ Boca or even ‘western’ Boca, you are provincial in your thinking. These people come East to spend money and go to the beaches (for which they pay a premium). They visit the Museum, take in a concert at the amphitheater, and eat in the restaurants. If you had to show a ‘resident card’ before using Mizner Park, it would ‘go under’.

People are moving into the city, either renting or buying because they want the urban feel of a thriving city. If these buildings fill up, can you still say that you represent “the residents”??  People who don’t like what is happening have the same opportunity…move! The following song by Petula Clark  sums it up. Don’t take the words literally, just enjoy the flavor! In 1999, 18 years ago, I had the opportunity to read this song into the record at a City Council meeting. Anyone want to guess what they were debating??

“Downtown”

When you’re alone and life is making you lonely
You can always go downtown
When you’ve got worries, all the noise and the hurry
Seems to help, I know, downtown

Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city
Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty
How can you lose?
The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares

So go downtown
Things will be great when you’re downtown
No finer place for sure, downtown
Everything’s waiting for you

Don’t hang around and let your problems surround you
There are movie shows downtown
Maybe you know some little places to go to
Where they never close downtown

Just listen to the rhythm of a gentle bossa nova
You’ll be dancing with ’em too before the night is over
Happy again
The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares

So go downtown
Where all the lights are bright, downtown
Waiting for you tonight, downtown
You’re gonna be alright now, downtown

Downtown
Downtown

And you may find somebody kind to help and understand you
Someone who is just like you and needs a gentle hand to
Guide them along
So maybe I’ll see you there
We can forget all our troubles, forget all our cares

So go downtown
Things will be great when you’re downtown
Don’t wait a minute more, downtown
Everything is waiting for you, downtown