By Jane Smith
The Town Square project is about $2.5 million under budget, Boynton Beach city commissioners learned at their Feb. 18 meeting.
Colin Groff, assistant city manager in charge of the public-private partnership, said the city’s private partner, E2L Real Estate Solutions, invested the bond money and returned about $1.6 million of interest to the project.
In addition, Groff said the partnership was able to avoid paying sales taxes on large equipment purchases by setting up a nonprofit to do the buying. The partnership saved between $800,000 and $900,000 and put the savings back into Town Square.
The city hopes the $250 million project creates a downtown with a mix of municipal buildings, a cultural center with a banquet hall, a museum, apartment buildings, a hotel and parks. The city’s estimated share is $118 million.
The roughly 16-acre site is bounded by Boynton Beach Boulevard on the north, Northeast First Street on the east, Southeast Second Avenue on the south and Seacrest Boulevard on the west.
The new Fire Station No. 1, which also serves Ocean Ridge and Briny Breezes, will have three bays and space for 10 employees. Its grand opening is scheduled for April 15.
The parking garages, though, are behind schedule by four to five months.
The south garage will be usable in December, said John Markey, managing principal of JKM Developers, another private partner.
The city will allow short-term parking on Ocean Avenue for people who need to do errands at City Hall, Groff said. Other surface parking will be available in the lot to the east of the Schoolhouse Children’s Museum.
JKM owns that lot. As part of its contract with the city, JKM must provide parking for the city staff and residents if the south garage is not finished in time.
In other news:
• The city’s renovated historic high school will open as the Cultural Arts Center on March 27. Reflections, a public artwork, will be installed during the first two weeks in May. Programs and classes will begin soon. For more information, call 561-742-6756.
• City commissioners approved a purchase order to R. George & Associates Inc. on March 3 for $77,800 to move city library materials from two temporary locations back to its permanent location in Town Square.
• Eleanor Krusell, public communications and marketing director, showed the 2020 city calendar based on historical postcards. Residents will receive copies of the calendar in the mail.
• Commissioners formed a centennial steering committee by recommending two residents each and plan to offer free entrance to the city’s Oceanfront Park from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 12, commemorating the day Boynton Beach bought that parcel, Krusell said. Krusell said parking is limited.
The Town of Boynton, named for Civil War Maj. Nathan S. Boynton of Michigan, was incorporated in 1920. In 1941 the Town of Boynton became Boynton Beach.
Residents who want to help plan centennial events should contact Krusell via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 561-742-6018.
Charles Elmore contributed to this story.