The Coastal Star

Boca Raton: Downtown business help considered

Delray Acura/Hyundai President Jim O’Neill
and his guest, retired FAU football coach Howard
Schnellenberger, lead more than 40 golf carts through
Mizner Park Plaza during the St. Patrick’s Day Golf Cart
Parade. Kurtis Boggs/The Coastal Star

By Steve Plunkett

Five members of the Downtown Boca Raton Advisory Board will guide efforts to create a Business Improvement District to further revitalize the area.

City Council members will choose who is on the steering panel following their adoption March 27 of an enabling resolution. Advisory board members will apply for the steering spots.

“It’s a good idea just to do anything like this,” City Council member Michael Mullaugh, sitting as a Community Redevelopment Agency commissioner, said at the March 26 CRA meeting.

Ruby Childers, the city’s downtown manager, said the steering committee will spend up to $25,000 of CRA money on a consultant to analyze how to set up the improvement district. 

Glenn Gromann, vice chairman of the Downtown Advisory Board, said the panel will just steer development of an improvement district and reach out for additional expertise.

“One of the models that we used was the BID that was done successfully in Coral Gables, where there were business people and outside business leaders that were also included on the BID,” Gromann said.

The steering committee will hold meetings to gather public input and build support among landlords, property owners and businesses for the improvement district. It will also propose boundaries for the district and rank possible improvements, including promotion and marketing, parking options and a shuttle or trolley system.

In addition, the committee will recommend how to fund the district and develop an action plan for the City Council to consider.

The council called for a funding strategy for downtown at its 2011 goal-setting session.

Coral Gables’ 15-year-old business improvement district expects to collect $815,000 in tax assessments this year from more than 200 retailers and 70 restaurants. That district’s latest marketing effort, “Tuesdays for Neighbors,” offers discounts to residents and employees.                                    Ú

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