By Jane Smith
    
    The city will still celebrate the Fourth of July while its beach promenade work continues.
    “Pardon our dust,” said Stephanie Immelman, executive director of the Delray Beach Marketing Cooperative. “We will have a condensed event with the flag-raising taking place at 5 p.m. instead of at 3:30 p.m.
    “We have a new 60-foot flag to raise,” she said. “That’s my favorite part of the festivities.”
    Families help to hold up the flag as it is raised by a crane. The flag should not touch the ground while it is raised, according to flag etiquette.
    The marketing staff has been working with its Team Delray partners on the event, Immelman said.
    Parking will be limited along the ocean, with construction blocking parking along A1A. Festival-goers are urged to park west of the Intracoastal Waterway in city garages and parking lots and then take the Downtown Trolley to NE/SE Seventh Avenue and walk or bike over to the beach.
    Police will close Ocean Boulevard at 2 p.m. from Thomas Street down to Bucida Road, one block past Casuarina Road on the south.
    That stretch won’t be reopened until the crowds clear after the fireworks finish on the north end of the city’s beach, Immelman said.
    The fireworks show will start at 9 p.m.
    City police also will close East Atlantic Avenue at NE/SE Seventh Avenue at 1:30 p.m.  July 4.
    Festivities start at 8 a.m. with a sandcastle-building contest on the beach.
    For a list of activities and parking information, Immelman said to check the website www.JulyFourthDelrayBeach.com.

Promenade work proceeds
    Meanwhile, Delray Beach continues work on the $3.1 million upgrade to the municipal beach promenade, moving toward an early fall completion date for the entire 1.25-mile project.
    In late May, contractors began working between the Sandoway parking lot north to Boston’s Sand Bar, just south of Atlantic Avenue. Sidewalks will be demolished and parking meters, benches, plaques, stone memorials, showers, trash containers and signs will be removed.
    The Sandoway parking lot will remain open. The city is asking beachgoers to consider parking elsewhere and taking the trolley to the beach. Street parking will be limited along the municipal beach with about half of the meters along Ocean Boulevard removed for the project, according to Missie Barletto of the city’s Public Works division.
    The promenade enhancements are nearly 10 years in the making.
    The work, west of the dunes, will feature wider sidewalks and coordinated shower poles, benches, bike and surfboard racks, trash/recycling containers and signs to replace the current hodgepodge of styles. Smart parking meters will be solar-powered.
    Utility trenches were dug recently for water pipes and cables for lighting at the south end of the project. After the utility lines are installed, backfilling and compacting of the trenches will be finished in early June.
    Bicyclists can still ride on Ocean Boulevard, but they are urged to use caution. The bike lane on the east side will be narrowed with barriers to protect the public from the construction work.
    About 70 percent of the beach benches, plaques and stone memorials have been removed, mostly from the south side and some from the very north of the city’s beach, Barletto said.
    The items are stored. The city is asking donors to contact project manager Isaac Kovner at 243-7000, ext. 4119, to discuss options.

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