I was surprised to read your Boca magazine blog post about me, and am disappointed we did not have a chance to speak prior to publication. I am writing so you can have my direct perspective so that your readers are well informed.
During 2008 I was directly contacted by the Wildflower developers and their representative regarding a potential sale to the city. I met with them and discussed what I believe was – and is – a wonderful opportunity for all the citizens of the city. I informed the city manager that this opportunity would not last if the City of Boca Raton did not show immediate interest, and made it clear I was supportive of the purchase of the property.
Unfortunately, shortly thereafter I unfortunately had personal reasons that led me to resign from the Council, but at the time, I was supportive of the property being a mix of uses, which I defined as a park-like setting available to all citizens with the availability of a walk up casual limited eating/beverage option. From that point the city moved forward to close the transaction during the next year. . I watched with interest as the Council looked to the public for their thoughts on use. At no time did I read in any newspaper, including the one for which you previously worked, that the public was supportive of monetizing the property. Where was your editorial? The Council has dragged its feet for years on this site, and it is appropriate that the voters have their say.
Accountability and responsibility go hand-in-hand, don’t you think?
The next issue which might loom larger is the sale of the city’s only regulation golf course in West Boca Raton. Should the city monetize this property? I have read that there is an offer to sell the property to the highest bidder. One of the bids offers the city an opportunity to sell the property and receive the Boca Teeca golf property along with millions in cash. That seems to me to be a win-win situation.
An opportunity to have a regulation golf course within our city’s borders and greatly improve a community within our city. Shouldn’t the citizens have a regulation golf course in our city? Are we a city that offers regulation golf only if you live in a country club community? I believe that our city is a great place to live, work and play! Special interests are flocking around our city councilmembers for support of their favored bid. The people really should be listened to.
One last point, the other night I was in a restaurant off Palmetto Park Road that had empty tables. I asked the owner what he thought of a new restaurant at the Wildflower property. His answer, “great property but do we need another restaurant?”.
Peter Baronoff, Boca Raton