Boca Raton Wildflower Park Progress Tracking

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The City of Boca Raton has used the excuse of a ridiculous lawsuit to stop all progress on developing open space on the Wildflower site for residents to enjoy. Contrast this behavior with the City changing the land use designation and zoning of the parcel to entirely commercial. The rezoning to commercial occurred two months AFTER 2,068 residents signed a petition requiring that all City-owned lands along the Intra-coastal Waterway be preserved for recreation.

So residents and visitors continue to be treated to a view that looks like an EPA Super Fund site in one of the most visible areas of the City. Additionally, the $7.5M that the City used to purchase the parcel in 2009 continues to be dead money with no qualitative or quantitative return to Boca Raton’s residents.

Some background on the situation is that the lawsuit was filed on January 9, 2017 by an organization external to the City. This was filed in an attempt to sabotage election results where 67% of Boca Raton residents voted in favor of the ballot question. More details as well as the text of the lawsuit can be found here: https://bocawatch.org/boca-raton-sued-to-block-election-results/

A Boca Raton family retained legal counsel to research the merit of the lawsuit. Their summary of results as well as the text of their attorney’s response, which was forwarded to the City on January 18, 2017, is posted here: https://bocawatch.org/boca-raton-sued-to-block-election-results/

The most recent development is that on January 30, 2017 the City filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Their arguments include many of the residents’ attorney’s points as well as additional supporting case law. The text of the City’s motion to dismiss is included in the following file.

Motion To Dismiss

Next steps include a response from the organization that filed the lawsuit and, if necessary, a ruling by a court.

So the status of Wildflower Park tracking is no progress on anything other than EDSA’s in-process inventory verification of all City-owned lands along the Intracoastal Waterway. We residents have been locked-out of our Wildflower property for over seven years and there is still no plan!

BocaWatch will continue to track and report on status of Wildflower Park.

 

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Jim Wood is a 25-year citizen of Boca Raton. Upon arriving in Boca from Arizona, Jim and his family had a house built in Broken Sound in the western section of the City. After the last of their three children left for college Jim and Trish downsized and relocated to east Boca, where they have lived for 18 years. His volunteering activities include serving eight years on an advisory board in the City. Jim is a computer engineer who advanced into executive positions with telecommunications companies Siemens and Lucent. He holds undergraduate degrees in mathematics and management, a master’s degree in computer engineering and an MBA. He is also a veteran who served four years on active duty with the United States Air Force. His interests include cycling (A1A), guitar (acoustic) and cooking (healthy comfort food). He is a member of the Boca Raton Bicycle Club and the FAU Alumni Association.

18 COMMENTS

  1. The vote was a fraud. If average citizens knew they were voting against an intracostal restaurant in downtown Boca, the vote would have went the other way. Why did the ballot neglect to mention this obvious issue? Was it an accidental omission? Not true. More like a lie of omission. The ballot was clearly intended to perpetuate a fraud on uninformed voters. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Please stop advocating unethical practices.

    • I am an “average citizen” who has lived in Boca Raton for two decades, has been to the Wildflower restaurant when it existed, does not live very near the property, rarely goes to that part of town, AND VOTED AGAINST DEVELOPMENT OF THE PROPERTY.

      There are many of us who love nature, open spaces and applaud the use of the property In such a way that all citizens can freely enjoy.

      As someone who has enjoyed gourmet dining on numerous occasions I believe the last thing we need in Boca Raton is another upscale and high priced restaurant.

    • Mike, the ballot wording was developed by the Boca Raton City Staff. Imagine the chaos if residents were allowed to write their own ballot language.

      • As a proud Albanian I think the staff made a big mistake not translating the ballot into Albanian. There is a growing Albanian population in Boca and THEY DESERVE TO BE HEARD! What the current mayor doesn’t understand about minority communities is that we are now the majority.

  2. The ballot question was plain and simple. 67% of the voters clearly interpreted it.
    Time for the city to put it to bed, tell the Chamber and its backers to “back off”
    and make it public open space.

  3. A place to read a book, a place to rent a sunfish or paddle board, a place to view the birds, a place to watch the boats, perhaps a swing set and some picnic tables. These are not expensive to provide. There are lots of possibilities here that improve the quality of life for all the people of Boca Raton. Common sense…..

  4. No matter who produced the wording it was confusing.
    A restaurant on the waterway is a great idea.
    You have plenty of parks to enjoy.

    The restaurant should have been built long ago.
    This disaster has many parents on both sides.

    • There are hundreds of restaurants in our city already and the view to the south would’ve been of a concrete bridge. The city should be ashamed to have bought this property for over $7 million without a detailed defined purpose prior to the purchase. The vacant lot should be shown at every council meeting as their badge of dishonor.

  5. This is true the city did the wording and made it confusing. Not in our favor and developers and investors spent hundred of thousands of dollars fighting it. Money can’t buy everything. But all the residents knew what they wanted and what they were voting for was a place to go and enjoy the view. Not all residents are fortunate enough to live on the water. There is something that attracts all of us to the water, a calming effect. It’s hard to explain. If you do not understand this, I feel sorry for you. The restaurant was a bad deal in many respects for the city-a losing proposition. As a resident of Boca, I am glad that my voice was finely heard. It’s about time and there are more changes coming.

  6. It should’ve been worded on the ballot as a very simple yes or no to a restaurant on the wildflower site instead it was worded where a lot of people had no idea what they were voting for. If the majority really wanted another park you would think some of the 50 something parks in Boca would have at least a few people in them. Drive by some of the open area parks in the city and they will all be completely empty. The parks for kids are always packed and are great.

    • Everett, the ballot question was wider in scope than a restaurant. The intent is to preserve all city-owned lands along the Intracoastal Waterway for recreation. Now that the referendum is over, it’s time to open the Wildflower for recreation. Tracking that activity is the purpose of the article.

  7. To Jim Wood – Jim, will you use the park if it is created? If so, where will you park your car, since you live in Broken Sound? Have you used the beach parks, and if so, how often in the last 2 years? Regards,

    • Hi Ned, thanks for your comment. We left Broken Sound 18 years ago and now live East of Mizner Park, but when we lived in Broken Sound we used the parks extensively. We found that we used the parks more when we lived in the Western part of the City because we couldn’t walk to the Intracoastal and beaches.

  8. Jim, don’t you think a great, beautiful restaurant on the ICW would be great for friends and family of all? And did you ever go to the Wildflower when it was there? Regards,

  9. Hi Ned, I think if you asked each of the 90K residents of Boca Raton what they would like to have done with the Wildflower site, you would get about 90K different answers. Starting in 2011 we could see special interests starting to try to get control of the Intracoastal Waterway parks for commercial development and decided that the 90K residents should be given a fair chance to voice their opinions on this. That is what the November 8th referendum was all about. The residents weighed-in and now it’s time for the City to do what the residents voted for. Yes, I went to the Wildflower. It was a fun place back then.

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