The city commission will hear a presentation Wednesday on the parking plan, which includes smart meters that would charge a fluctuating rate based on location and demand, a concept called “surge pricing”. Some details haven’t yet been ironed out, including a parking plan for downtown employees who currently take advantage of free city-owned spots.
The parking meters could net the city as much as $3.15 million a year, city officials said in early July.
City staff will present the parking plan at a commission meeting Wednesday evening.
The city owns 3,277 parking spots in downtown, 727 of which are inside two parking garages.
The parking garages currently charge a $5 flat fee after 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Seven-hundred spots along the beach are already metered, but would become smart meters with charges that fluctuate based on time of day.
The remaining spots in downtown are currently free for 8- or 2-hour parking.
Check back Wednesday for more details on this proposal.
The airport, on Airport Road at Glades Road just east of Interstate 95, is constructing a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility so international travelers can soon fly directly into the state-owned airport.
International flights currently have to stop at Palm Beach International or Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International airports to go through Customs before flying to Boca Raton. The 4,400-square-foot Customs office is under construction and expected to open this fall, according to airport officials.
“The environmental impact will be measurable in terms of reduced fuel consumption and noise in the community,” Clara Bennett, executive director of the Boca Raton Airport Authority, said in a news release.
The $4.5 million project is largely funded by a grant from the state’s Department of Transportation. The remaining funding came from the Boca Raton Airport Authority, meaning no local tax dollars were used to fund the project.
Local boaters can also clear customs at the Boca Raton Airport when the facility opens.
Aircrafts will be charged $50 to $500 depending on the size of the craft. Marine vessels will be charged about $15 per person. Those fees are expected to offset the cost of Customs and Border Protection services, the airport reports.
DELRAY BEACH — A smaller version of popular grocery chain Whole Foods, one that carries items at a lower cost, is due to open in Delray Beach. Expect new restaurants as well once a makeover is complete at the plaza at Linton Boulevard east of Interstate 95.
Delray Plaza, an 85,000-square-foot mixed-use plaza at 660 W. Linton Blvd., is undergoing a redesign that will bring in 365 by Whole Foods Market, breakfast and brunch cafe First Watch and Mediterranean eatery Zoes Kitchen, plaza owner S.J. Collins Enterprises said.
Whole Foods Market 365, a smaller-format store with lower prices than the original Whole Foods Market, will take the 30,000-square-foot space held by Palm Beach Gym. It will be the first 365 by Whole Foods in Florida, according to the grocery chain’s website.
The plaza will also be home to the sixth Palm Beach County location for the popular Florida-based restaurant First Watch. And the first Zoes Kitchen on the east coast of South Florida, according to its website.
Pet Supplies Plus, Pollo Tropical and Subway, and other retail and office tenants, already at Delray Plaza will remain in place, according to the developer.
DELRAY BEACH — After Hurricane Wilma destroyed the Delray Beach Housing Authority’s offices more than a decade ago, the organization exhausted its resources putting roofs over the heads of families in need, and long ignored its own roof.
The housing authority, which provides homes to low- and moderate-income through government assistance, bounced between various rental properties after the 2005 storm.
“I sometimes used that irony in talking to the people we help,” said Dorothy Ellington, president of the housing authority. “I tell them, ‘We know what it’s like to be homeless too.’ ”
But the department is homeless no more.
The housing authority opened a 4,800-square-foot office on Northwest Fifth Avenue in downtown Delray Beach’s West Settlers Historic District this month.
It is permanent and, more importantly, Ellington said, closer to the families it serves in lower income areas west of Swinton Avenue.
The housing authority was in the midst of planning a much-needed redevelopment of a public housing complex called Carver Estates in the mid-2000s when Hurricane Wilma hit Palm Beach County, destroying the offices, condemning the homes and displacing some 200 families.
“Our main focus was to make sure that the families we served had homes,” Ellington said. Wilma, a Category 2 storm, collapsed the roofs of many Carver Estates homes, forcing the housing authority to pour their money into moving families and, eventually, replacing the homes with new ones.
Carver Estates became Village Square apartments, on Auburn Avenue north of Southwest 10th Street, with 144 public housing units, and it’s still growing with plans to build housing for the elderly.
Finding land and building a space for the housing authority itself fell by the wayside for more than a decade.
Without a home and a focus on finding homes for others, the authority turned to renting office space. It was costly and inconvenient – neither of the two rental properties had a front office, leaving visitors lined in chairs in the hallway outside the door.
The new office, with white walls and wide windows, includes a lobby, boardroom and break room for employees. The atmosphere puts families at ease, Ellington said.
“Just because families are low-income, does not mean they should be treated like they are low-income,” she said. “They should feel good about coming to this building and they shouldn’t feel embarrassed about coming to us.”
The city is considering adding parking meters to 3,000-plus free parking spots in downtown Delray Beach. When they do, the smart meters will hike up the price of prime parking, such as those coveted side-street spots along Atlantic Avenue.
City officials are expected to talk more about the parking meters at a meeting July 6.
As we prepare to say goodbye to free parking when we hit The Ave, take advantage of these free parking gems around Delray Beach while you can.
Here are some great places to park in downtown Delray Beach:
The Delray Beach Public Library parking lot, shared with the South County Courthouse, on Southwest Second Avenue south of Atlantic Avenue may seem like a trek from East Atlantic, but a it’s only a few blocks from the action and usually empty after the library closes.
Hit the parking garages before 4 p.m. to avoid fees throughout the week. There’s a $5 flat fee if you park after 4 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. But if you get a spot in the garage early enough, you don’t have to pay.
There are 191 free parking spaces — 2-hour and 8-hour parking — at the lot tucked behind the Silverball Museum on Northeast Third Avenue adjacent to the railroad tracks. They tend to fill up during peak hours, but are worth checking for their proximity to the shops, restaurants and bars downtown.
The museum and 16-acre garden west of Delray Beach, at 4000 Morikami Park Rd, is offering four tickets for $40 on Sunday, June 25 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Visitors can create their own 40th anniversary button, see a Japanese-themed musical performance and create and share their favorite Morikami moments for a time capsule that will be buried during a private ceremony, among other activities, according to the museum.
Spanish River Park, at 3001 N. Ocean Blvd, and South Inlet Park, at 1100 S. Ocean Blvd, showed bacteria levels greater than 71 colonies per 100 milliliters of marine water, putting the beaches in the “poor range,” the department reports. For reference, a good range is between zero and 35 colonies per 100 milliliters.
The bacterial spike, noticed after the water was sampled Sunday, could be caused by wildlife, heavy recreational usage, high surf from high winds and high tides or runoff following heavy rains, but the exact cause is unknown.
But upon closer inspection, you’ll notice the turtle is made from trash — all collected from the city’s shorelines and mangroves.
Gumbo Limbo, at 1801 N Ocean Blvd, coordinated a cleanup effort along Boca Raton’s beaches and mangroves this past weekend in honor of World Oceans Day on June 8. So much trash was collected, the center said on Facebook, that the nature center created displays out of the garbage, including the “trash turtle.”
During the coastal cleanup, plastic bottles, balloons and other materials were collected.
The center, which focuses its efforts on coastal education and sea turtle rehabilitation, said the trash affects sea turtle nesting during season. There are 292 loggerhead, 12 green, and 5 leatherback turtle nests currently along Boca Raton’s 5-mile coastline, Gumbo Limbo said.
Over the weekend, the nature center coordinated several events and exhibits to raise awareness about the importance of keeping the coastlines clean.
One exhibit included the dumping of 70 pounds of plastic bottles into Gumbo Limbo’s mangrove aquariums.
DELRAY BEACH — Forget “Taco Tuesday.” How about “Taco Friday“?
Unlimited craft margaritas, a taco station and nacho bar are some of the highlights of an event Friday at Delray Beach’s Old School Square. Tequila & Tacos will be held at campus’ Fieldhouse, at 51 N. Swinton Ave., at 6 p.m.
A ticket to the event, which costs $45 and can be purchased online, buys you unlimited access to a lengthy list of craft margaritas that include Mexican restaurant Cabo Flats‘ Beer Margarita, Margarita Sangria, Mexican Hipster, and Strawberry Margarita Punch.
The contract to purchase the land has been signed by the beach and park district, a special taxing authority that includes the city and areas west of Boca Raton, and Ocean Breeze owners Wells Fargo and developer Lennar Corp.
The district agreed to pay $24 million for the golf course, despite some last-minute pleas from residents who wanted to see the price go down.
The deal isn’t done, however. The district still requires the city council to approve a loan to fund the acquisition of Ocean Breeze, a 214-acre course near the Boca Teeca Condominium complex at Northwest Second Avenue and Yamato Road.
An exact date hasn’t yet been set for the joint meeting, but it will take place in July, district officials say.
The now-closed championship Ocean Breeze Golf Club includes 27 holes and a hotel property, which the district may lease or sell outright.