By Mary Hladky

The Center for Arts and Innovation has received a $1 million appropriation from the Florida Legislature that will go toward completing the cultural center’s design and cultural program planning.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on June 12 vetoed $32 million in art and culture grants that lawmakers included in the state budget, shocking cultural organizations across Florida that had expected to receive grants after lawmakers approved the budget in March.

But that action did not affect the Boca Raton project because it did not receive grant funding. The appropriation was sponsored by state Sen. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, and state Rep. Mike Caruso, R-West Palm Beach. It was approved by the Legislature as a separate item and DeSantis did not veto it.

Harrell was unavailable for comment in late June, and Caruso could not be reached by then.

Although state Sen. Tina Polsky, D-Boca Raton, was not a sponsor, she said in a statement that the appropriation will help provide a cultural hub to foster innovation, economic growth and the arts.

“I was proud to support and advocate for the project during the past legislative session and look forward to seeing its extensive positive impact,” she said.

The center got another financial boost when it received an $865,000 grant from the Cultural Council for Palm Beach County.

“As we forge ahead on our efforts to deliver a world-class creative campus in the heart of downtown Boca Raton, support from our governmental partners is of the utmost importance and a recognition we do not take lightly,” Center Chair and CEO Andrea Virgin said in a June 4 statement.

Virgin had wanted the center, projected to cost at least $140 million, to break ground in 2025, Boca Raton’s centennial year, but that has now been pushed back to the first quarter of 2027.

Her public relations firm said that delays are common for projects of this size and complexity, but did not provide details.

The center, which will be located in Mizner Park and is being designed by the prestigious Renzo Piano Building Workshop, will contain multiple venues for cultural programming, a piazza, rooftop terrace and underground parking.

State funds FY2025
Three Boca Raton projects received money in the state budget that took effect July 1. The city received $1.4 million for drinking water transmission and delivery, $1 million for widening of Northwest/Southwest Fourth Avenue, and $300,000 for drainage improvements on Northwest 35th Street.

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