By Jane Smith
The Holiday Boat Parade will travel down the Intracoastal Waterway on Dec. 11 through Boynton Beach and Delray Beach for the 44th year, but the Delray Beach part almost didn’t happen.
The Delray Beach city manager, who just started in January, learned in mid-November that the city’s non-participation was called out on social media as “being the Grinch.” That’s the first he heard of the Holiday Boat Parade, Don Cooper said.
Delray Beach had passed its budget in September and it didn’t include money for the boat parade, Cooper said. “But we will do what we did last year. Open the bridges and staff them with police,” he said.
At the Nov. 10 meeting of the Boynton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, board members learned the boat parade was not going into Delray Beach. It’s the second year that the CRA is running the boat parade. Previously Boynton Beach city staff had run the boat parade after a local Kiwanis group had organized it for decades.
“We had reached out to the new (Delray Beach) Parks and Recreation Director, but never heard back,” Vivian Brooks, CRA executive director, told the board. “My concern is that we are sending our boats into Delray Beach — same as last year — it’s a whole other city, and is that a wise use of CRA tax dollars?”
“We had a commitment last year to help offset the costs from Mr. (Reeve) Bright of Delray Beach but received nothing,” Brooks said.
Bright, who ran the boat parade with the Kiwanis for more than 30 years, could not be reached for comment. In 2014, he told the Boynton Beach CRA board that in those years the city of Boynton Beach never contributed money for the boat parade.
The 2015 Holiday Boat Parade will start at the base of the Lantana Bridge, then travel south through Boynton Beach and Delray Beach where it will end at the C-15 canal.
By Jane Smith