Resident’s Response: An Alternative View to ‘Over Development Downtown’

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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

7 COMMENTS

  1. I also lived in Boston and avoided the downtown like the plague due to the overbuilding, traffic jams, expensive parking- if you could find a space. We moved to Boca in part because of its openness and accesability, There is more to a city than making and spending money. We need more balance NOT more high rises and expensive restaurants.

    • By all metrics, Boston is thriving. You may choose to avoid it but the key is “choice”. A strong and thriving downtown, and strong and thriving suburbs afford choice.

  2. Thank you for stating this issue so eloquently. We moved from Boca’s “East of 95” area to downtown for the ever growing urban experience – a downtown evolving only as Boca can. Boca should endeavor to become more of a pedestrian city where walking is part of the experience. It’s too bad most voters did not realize they were voting against a short walk to an Intracostal restaurant on last year’s fraudulent waterfront park ballot. That misleading ballot left Boca as the only major Intracostal city in south Florida without downtown waterfront dining … while adding yet another waterfront park – albeit one that is way too small for anything worthy of the Boca experience. Let’s have another vote specifically on restoring Boca’s traditional waterfront dining experience at the Wildflower Intracostal location, If voters were not mislead by the deceptive language of the last ballot and knew exactly what they were voting for, the waterfront dining proposition at the Wildflower would overwhelmingly pass.

  3. I moved my family here during the early 1970’s. because I found this

    BEAUTIFUL bedroom community. Now as I watch my city is being destroyed.

    Buildings so tall and traffic at a stand still. Being told that we have a

    Traffic Engineer at the Helm. We now play DODGE EM CARS when walking around

    the city. Mizner 200 is a total disaster. Midtown is a total over build. It

    is now time to slow this construction to and look at the impact of what has

    already been approved. Taking traffic off of Glades Rd would really help.

    So to do this we put another Palm Tran Station at Glades and Military Trail.

    No one speaks about schools that will need to be built. Or supplying water

    or handling sewage. I really don’t believe that we have to build it to see

    what the impacts are going to be..

  4. A lot of the people that complain about the over development of the downtown area have stated that we should be more like downtown Delray Beach who has chosen not to put any high rises and keep the nostalgic look of it’s downtown. Well I went to Delray this past weekend and high rise or no high rise, they have a traffic nightmare in there downtown. It can easily take 25 or more minutes to travel from Atlantic Ave and I95 to A!A, just 6 miles. The traffic crawls through the downtown. While aesthetically, I’m not a fan of all the high rise buildings, I think a vibrant and booming downtown does benefit most of the resident, whether they like it or not.

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