By Mary Hladky

Mayor Scott Singer presented a bright picture of how Boca Raton is faring in the annual “State of the City” address to residents, pointing to accomplishments while also noting challenges ahead.
10165121885?profile=RESIZE_180x180About 120 residents filled the Downtown Library’s meeting room to hear his Feb. 15 address in person, while others watched on Facebook or YouTube.
Singer drew strong applause when he said that crime in the city decreased by 9% last year for the second year in a row; the city’s tax rate remains one of the lowest of any full-service city in the state; the new downtown Wildflower Park will open in the fall; and the city and Boca Raton Arts District Exploratory Corp. are finalizing work on a long-term land lease that will pave the way for construction of a $140 million cultural complex at Mizner Park.
Other accomplishments he cited in the last year include Boca’s becoming the first city in the state to enact an ordinance requiring buildings to be inspected to determine if they are safe in the wake of the collapse of a Surfside condo; construction of the first school — Blue Lake Elementary — to be built in the city in nearly two decades; the city’s takeover of The Boca Raton’s western golf course, now the Boca Raton Golf and Racquet Club; and groundbreaking for a Brightline train station.
“The opportunity to be connected to a major transportation network, and to be one of a handful of cities in South Florida to be part of that network, has untold benefits for our city,” Singer said.
The city’s economy is thriving, with nearly 3,000 new businesses starting in Boca Raton in the last 22 months. Existing high-tech companies are growing and new ones are coming to the city, he said.
But the city faces strong competition from other South Florida cities in attracting high tech and must do more to convince these companies’ leaders that Boca Raton offers what they are looking for.
The goal, he said, is to help tech talent grow and stay in Boca Raton, building on Florida Atlantic University’s Research Park and Tech Runway while also increasing venture funding.
“Our Boca Raton brand is strong, but it will take more than that alone,” he said. “We are competing for talent, investment, amenities and the many things we enjoy. We must launch a new era of success today to create a sustainable path for the coming decades.” Ú

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