Boca Raton: Newcomers elected to Beach & Park district; voters choose to keep development off Wildflower site

By Steve Plunkett

Voters’ hunger for change brought two newcomers to the board of the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District and scuttled a years-long plan to put a restaurant on the city-owned Wildflower site.

Voters also approved adding a penny to the 6-cent local sales tax in Palm Beach County.

Unofficial results posted on the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections website showed challenger Craig Ehrnst defeated incumbent Beach & Park District Commissioner Dennis Frisch 56 percent to 44 percent for Seat 1. Challenger Erin Wright beat incumbent Earl Starkoff 52 percent to 48 percent for Seat 3.

A citizen initiative to permit only public uses of city-owned property on the Intracoastal Waterway was the biggest winner, taking 67 percent of 43,565 votes cast.

“We won!!! Your vote and voice have been heard and I look forward to serving you,” Wright posted on Facebook.

Frisch, who went online to thank those who supported him, said he had been “targeted by special interests and their deep bank accounts.”

Ehrnst reported Nov. 4 to receiving three $1,000 campaign contributions from developer Jamie Danburg through his Danburg Management Co., 6600 Congress Ltd. and Boca Industrial Park Ltd. Danburg-affiliated businesses also gave Ehrnst $3,000 during the primary campaign.

All four Beach & Park District candidates supported making the 2.3-acre Wildflower site a park. The city bought the parcel, at the northwest base of the Palmetto Park Road bridge, for $7.5 million in 2009 and has been negotiating for years to put a restaurant there. But nearby residents mounted a petition drive and succeeded this summer in putting the question on the ballot.

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