By Steve Plunkett
The public has a new spot downtown to watch boat traffic on the Intracoastal Waterway.
City officials opened the Wildflower site, at the northwest corner of the Palmetto Park Road bridge over the waterway, to pedestrians and vehicles on Nov. 27.
The 2.3-acre parcel is mostly parking lot, and Boca Raton is letting motorists park there free. Foot traffic can enter through a gate at the base of the bridge; vehicles get in via Northeast Fifth Avenue.
Workers for the city installed six park benches, repaired a troublesome crack in the site’s sea wall, opened gates to neighboring Silver Palm Park and freshened up the site with mulch. The park, which so far lacks a name, is open from 8 a.m. to dusk daily. “Possible hazards may exist,” a sign warns. “Entry and use at own risk.”
The Wildflower site will also be open during the evening Dec. 16 as a viewing site for the Holiday Boat Parade.
More changes are coming. The City Council hired engineers Applied Technology and Management Inc. on Nov. 28 to design a new sea wall for the parcel. On Dec. 11 the council will get an update from consultant EDSA Inc. on a master plan for Boca Raton’s waterfront parks.
Boca Raton bought the land, at 551 E. Palmetto Park Road, eight years ago for $7.5 million. In July 2016, council members changed part of the vacant parcel’s land designations from residential to commercial to accommodate a long-planned restaurant. But voters decided the following November that all city-owned land on the Intracoastal should be for “public recreation, public boating access, public streets, and city storm water uses only.”
The council changed the land designations to “recreation and open space” in June.
By Steve Plunkett