This article provides some background, current status and future plans for what is now called Boca Raton’s Wildflower property. People who have some historical knowledge of Boca Raton understand the background of the property; whereas others might not. The Wildflower parcel is located at the Northwest corner of the Intracoastal Waterway and the Palmetto Park Bridge. The parcel will be developed into a public park that is part of a broader vision to keep Boca Raton an amazing place to live, work and play.
Some history on the land parcel can be found in the following link: https://thecoastalstar.com/profiles/blogs/boca-raton-from-wilderness-to-wildflower-across-a-century
While the Wildflower restaurant and bar operated from 1980 until 1999, the article in the link provides some history of the land parcel dating back to 1914.
The Boca Raton City Council approved acquiring the Wildflower land parcel for $7.5M on December 9, 2009 and in 2011 solicited resident input via a workshop and survey for preferred usage of the parcel. When the City appeared to be on the path of commercializing the property, residents began advocating for the Wildflower property and all other City-owned Intracoastal Waterway properties to be preserved for recreation only. In 2016 the City was on the verge of leasing the Wildflower property to a chain restaurant for 45 years at financial terms unfavorable to other City restaurants and residents. The residents executed an initiative ordinance process resulting in an ordinance being added to the November 8, 2016 election ballot. The ordinance passed 67% to 33%; mandating that all City-owned Intracoastal Waterway properties, including the Wildflower, be preserved for recreational purposes only.
The results of the election triggered the zoning of the property to be recreation only and increased the priority of the design and development of a public park on the site. Since 2016 the City’s waterfront park consultant, EDSA, has been getting residents’ input and creating and refining conceptual designs for a park on the site. Perhaps the most valuable input has been provided by the organization named 2020 Vision. This all volunteer group of community business leaders and residents was created by architect Margaret Fitzsimons and has provided detailed reviews and recommendations for the designs of the waterfront park and continues to be a major force in providing direction to EDSA.
On January 23, 2019 the City Council decided to proceed with Wildflower and Silver Palm Detailed Designs including some suggested changes to the following EDSA conceptual design.
Since Wildflower Park and Silver Palm Park are being merged from a design perspective, a single name for both parks is under consideration. The following conceptual design includes the name “Centennial,” but other names are also being considered.
The following graphic shows the tasks that will be executed by EDSA over the next 89 weeks. A Notice to Proceed will be issued by the City for Work Order 7, Tasks 1.1 to 1.5. The Notice to Proceed for Task 1.1 was issued on January 31, 2019, so that task is underway.
The task intervals and end dates in the following tracker are estimates from Work Order 7 and will be subject to change as the project progresses. For example, the intervals do not account for holidays and unforeseen delays or early completions of preceding tasks. BocaFirst will continue to track and report on the plans and progress of the Wildflower/Silver Palm Park enhancement project.