Last week: Last week we saw Tri-Rail release numbers showing that the Boca Raton Station on Yamato Road is the busiest of the 17 Tri-Rail stations in the tri-county region. The location’s proximity to Florida Atlantic University and the various office parks and jobs along Yamato are a big reason why. As demand increases for rail service in South Florida, we need to continue to work with transportation leaders, government agencies and residents to ensure we are mitigating any impacts the service has on our neighborhoods.
Last week: We really saw Florida Atlantic University dominate the news coverage in Boca Raton. The FAU Board of Trustees approved, in concept, a 200-room hotel and convention center to be built on the Boca campus. The $45 million project would be funded with private dollars and would help create local jobs, provide unique educational opportunities for students and attract large conventions to Boca.
Next week: Well, the college football season starts next week and Florida Atlantic University is already making some big moves. The FAU stadium was selected as one of the 38 stadiums across the country to host a bowl game in the 2013-2014 year. The media coverage surrounding bowl games would give FAU national attention and highlight the University and its campus. This is big news for the university, Boca Raton and Palm Beach County.
Last week: Florida Trend magazine recently ran an article on the Top 150 public companies in Florida based on revenue and where they were located. Boca Raton tied with Miami as having the third-largest concentration of the 150 largest public companies in Florida. Part of the success of attracting these companies to our area is because of the quality public services the city provides, having clean, safe neighborhoods, good schools and great healthcare facilities, and our commitment to keeping taxes low on businesses and residents.
Last week: It's official. Our residents will be benefiting from a $66.6 million Florida Dept. of Transportation improvement plan where Boca Raton will be getting an I-95 interchange at Spanish River Boulevard. This week FDOT gave construction crews the go ahead to begin the project, with construction slated to begin in the next six months. A long awaited and highly needed road, the interchange will provide direct access to Florida Atlantic University and will reduce traffic along Glades Road which is already one of the busiest roads in the county. The interchange coming to fruition is the result of leaders across our community, county and state working together to solve a traffic and transportation challenge. It’s exciting to see the interchange move forward.
Looking ahead: In Boca Raton, the month of August is going to provide residents and businesses across south Florida an opportunity to partner with non-profit groups in an effort to raise awareness for the many philanthropic services they provide in our community. The Boca Chamber Festival Days is an annual one month long series of events that are open to the public, sponsored by local business and designed to support the non-profit community. It’s a great way for our residents to give back, make a difference in the community and is sure to create a lot of buzz throughout the month of August.
Last week: This week Boca Raton Regional Hospital was ranked 21st in the state of Florida and 9th in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale metro area by US News & World Report’s 2013-2014 annual listing of top regional hospitals. This is the third year Boca Regional has received this recognition. Having a world-class medical facility in Boca Raton is an important job creator in the region and is also a major reason for our community’s excellent quality of life.
Last week: In the past week we saw one of the most sought out retailers in the US, Trader Joe’s, make a commitment to open a store in Downtown Boca Raton. This news comes on the heels of an impressive three year incentive program in Boca that has seen $6.6 million leveraged from County and State incentives into over 4,500 jobs created or retained in our community. Trader Joe’s will be joining another retail store, Lord & Taylor, which will be opening its first and only Florida full-line store in Mizner Park in the fall. These amazing retail stores provide anchors in our community for additional local businesses and start ups to open up.
Looking ahead: One story that didn’t receive too much media attention, but will be a hot topic for years to come is Florida Atlantic University moving from the Sun Belt Conference to Conference USA . This move will help the University, the athletes and the students who attend the university by bringing more focus to the many great athletic programs FAU offers. With 6 football games slated to be aired on national TV this year, I know I will be watching a lot more FAU football to say the least. Congratulations to the FAU Owls.
Last Week: The recent news that Garda World plans to create an additional 50 high paying jobs in Boca Raton is the story of the week for our community. Garda World, which has its US Headquarters based in Boca Raton, is projected to have close to 200 jobs in the City by the end of the year with plans to expand and create an education campus for its employees within two years. Garda World is a global provider of security solutions, cash logistics and global risk consulting. Not only are we excited about having Garda World expand, but we are happy to have a partner who has made a commitment to our community. To create healthy economies, the private and public sector must work collaboratively to achieve goals where everyone benefits. The expansion of Garda World is good news for Boca Raton and Palm Beach County.
Looking Ahead: One hot topic in the coming weeks ahead will be surrounding the express train service from Miami to Orlando with stops in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando called All Aboard Florida. What is unique about this project is that it’s being funded with private dollars and will create a new train track that will run through the core urban areas throughout the tri county region. This connection will help strengthen the economic ties of Southeast Florida.
There are several organizations and agencies involved in the project and it will require a collaborative approach and coordination between the many government agencies and the private sector funding the rail system. As Chair of the Palm Beach County Metropolitan Planning Organization and Deputy Mayor on the Boca Raton City Council, I have the opportunity to work with All Aboard Florida on coordinating their plans with the municipalities. I am currently working with Palm Beach County Cities on identifying funding for safety improvements so we can create quiet zones along the rail corridor. As All Aboard Florida moves forward, there will be other challenges that will need to be worked out and solved. This is a project I will be keeping a close eye on in the weeks and months to come.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun