A Boynton Beach police officer has been named the department’s alligator wrestler after he lassoed one on a porch this month and filmed it on his body camera.
A Hunter’s Run resident called police July 10 when he found the gator outside his front door. Lucky for that man, Officer Alfredo Vargas showed up with the proper tools and even more important- training on how to handle the reptiles.
After a few tries, the officer successfully threw a rope around the gator’s head and swung the body around to get the mouth away from him. Then he threw a jacket on the head and held the mouth closed while another officer tied it shut.
Vargas called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. But facing a long wait time and likely a death sentence for the gator, Vargas decided to take the gator on a short ride to a nearby canal and let him roam free.
Between 100 and 350 parking places in the central portion of the downtown, near Mizner Park and Royal Palm Place plazas, will be needed in the next two decades based on parking trends, according to Kimley-Horn and Associates, a consulting firm hired by the city. The firm presented the study to city officials Monday.
The firm took a sampling of mid-day and evening parking at the city’s 1,275 public spots in March and April. Only 70 percent of overall parking spots were used during peak hours, but areas such as Mizner Park saw much higher utilization, said Chris Heggen of Kimley-Horn.
That 70 percent usage “means there is enough parking supply overall in the downtown to meet the demand that is occurring,” Heggen said.
But growth in southern Palm Beach County and expected development in downtown Boca Raton indicates at least 108 parking spots will be needed within the next five years. Up to 350 parking spaces will be needed by 2040, the firm found.
A few options were recommended to alleviate parking pains:
Surface parking. The city could purchase between 2.5 and 3.5 acres of land in the central area of downtown and create a surface parking lot.
Parking garage. About 2 acres would be needed for a parking garage in the central portion of downtown, and it would cost the city up to $10 million. The parking garage could include meters to generate revenue, Heggen said.
Off-site parking with a shuttle. The city could offer parking near the downtown and have a convenient shuttle transport visitors during peak hours.
Public-private partnership. Agreements could be made with the owners of built and forthcoming developments to add public parking. Ideally, the city would partner with an office building, which would have parking available during peak evening hours.
City government campus parking. The city has discussed building a city government campus in downtown Boca Raton. Additional public parking for visitors could be taken into consideration in planned the government campus, Heggen said.
City leaders pointed out that other areas of the downtown, such as Southeast First Avenue where two new restaurants – Louie Bossi and Frank and Dino’s – have driven up parking needs, have also added to downtown demand in recent months.
Delray Beach Police will participate in National Night Out, a police event held in communities throughout the country to strengthen bonds with residents and raise awareness about issues in their areas. It will take place 6 p.m. at the Delray Beach Tennis Center, at 201 W Atlantic Ave.
The free event includes children’s games, music, food and entertainment. Delray Beach Police’s SWAT team and motorcycle unit will hold demonstrations for residents.
The department is also giving away backpacks filled with school supplies to children who attend the event, according to the department.
City officials, firefighters and paramedics are also expected to attend.
“It’s very important that the community come together and people get to know one another and know their neighbors,” Chief Jeffrey Goldman said in a statement. “If the people in the community come together and know each other, there can be a healthy exchange of information between them and the police and hopefully we can get information to help solve crimes and maybe even prevent crimes.”
This year’s National Night Out will focus on preventing bullying as well as crime and drug use, the themes of previous years.
Delray Beach Police asked that residents lock their doors and turn on the lights outside their homes before attending the event.
“While the one night is certainly not an answer to crime, drugs and violence, National Night Out represents the kind of spirit, energy and determination to help make neighborhoods a safer place year round,” Goldman said. “It is a wonderful opportunity for communities across the city to promote police-community partnerships, crime prevention, and neighborhood camaraderie.”
Mizner 200 is too massive and doesn’t fit the city’s architectural guidelines, said the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency, made up of city council members, in a marathon discussion that lasted more than six hours. Several residents and stakeholders spoke during the meeting to praise the idea or suggest changes.
Developer Elad National Properties offered to work with city staff to fine-tune the project, which includes three buildings with 384 luxury condominiums at an 8.7-acre property between Royal Palm Plaza and Boca Raton Golf Club.
The Wellingtonrapper, whose legal name is Rob Van Winkle, came to the Ocean Avenue spot for lunch on Sunday. Sumlin says the visit wasn’t a rarity; he dines there frequently.
The family-owned East Ocean Cafe, at 412 E. Ocean Ave., is known for its eggs Benedict and home fries.
Sumlin shared the photos on the restaurant’s Facebook page and wrote: “What a Wonderful weekend we had at The Cafe. Thank you everyone coming and enjoying breakfast and lunch with us . It was nice to see you again Rob (Vanilla Ice) you always being a smile”
The restaurantis at 1500 Gateway Blvd. at Congress Avenue.
BurgerFi started in 2011 and uses 100 percent natural Angus beef patties. The company says they don’t use steroids, antibiotics, growth hormones, chemicals or additives. It’s described on the website as a “Gourmet Hamburger Restaurant: French Fries & Craft Beer.”
Restaurant Week, when more than 35 popular downtown restaurants, juice bars and cafes offer discounted multi-course meals, will return for its second year on Aug. 1-7.
Coordinated by the city’s Downtown Development Authority, Restaurant Week is meant to drum up business during downtown’s sluggish off-season. But based on last year’s crowds, the DDA recommends people book reservations if possible.