By Jane Smith
Boynton Beach city employees are working in temporary spaces for the next 18 to 24 months while new buildings are constructed in Town Square. City meetings have moved to the Intracoastal Park clubhouse on their regularly scheduled days and hours.
City Hall staffers are working out of a temporary site at 3301 Quantum Blvd., Suite 100. Phone numbers and office hours will be the same for all departments, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Customer service, where residents pay utility bills and buy beach passes, is open at 209 N. Seacrest Blvd., just south of the U.S. Postal Service branch at the southwest corner of Seacrest and Boynton Beach boulevards.
The city library opened in its temporary location at 115 N. Federal Highway. The library has a smaller space, but books and other items in storage can be requested.
The Police Department moved to 2045 High Ridge Road in late September. Its public records and internal affairs also moved to 209 N. Seacrest Blvd.
The Fire-Rescue Department was the last to leave the area.
Staff at Station 1, which also serves Ocean Ridge and Briny Breezes, has been split between Fire Station 4 on South Federal Highway and Fire Station 5 on High Ridge Road. One lieutenant and two firefighter/paramedics with a rescue vehicle will work out of the South Federal Highway station, with a similar-size contingent working out of the High Ridge Road station.
Fire Chief Glenn Joseph said he will monitor the response times and make adjustments if they rise more than one minute. Then, city staff will look for space east of the Interstate 95. Joseph knows it won’t be easy to find a building big enough to house a fire truck.
Demolition of the city buildings began in mid-September with the Civic Center. The city’s total demolition cost is estimated at $2.4 million, said Colin Groff, assistant city manager in charge of Town Square.
“The project would be transformational for downtown Boynton Beach,” said City Manager Lori LaVerriere. “It will bring a whole new life to the area.”
A few days later, city commissioners approved a modified site plan for Town Square that calls for increased setbacks from Seacrest Boulevard and Ocean Avenue for the City Center complex.
The current zoning requires no setbacks, unless the plan calls for public spaces, including sidewalks, fountains or outdoor seating areas.
On Seacrest, the enlarged setback of more than 82 feet will accommodate surface parking for the commission chambers. A walkway with a trellis that supports vines and other plants will be used along Seacrest to shield the surface parking lot from the street.
Commissioners unanimously approved the changes.
On Oct. 2, Northeast First Avenue was abandoned to the project by a unanimous commission vote. The road will still be usable by fire-rescue vehicles.
The $250 million Town Square is a public-private partnership between Boynton Beach and E2L Real Estate Solutions. The city’s estimated share is $118 million.
The 16-acre area, bounded by Boynton Beach Boulevard on the north and Southeast Second Avenue on the south, will create a downtown for Boynton Beach.
When the project is complete by the end of 2020, the city will have a renovated historic high school that can be used for recreation classes on the first floor and a ballroom that can be rented on the second floor, a City Center building that will house City Hall and the library, new Fire Station 1, parks, garages and an amphitheater.
E2L will develop a hotel, office buildings with stores and restaurants on the ground floor, and apartment buildings.