Boynton Beach Town Square
DATE: September 2014
ROLE & PROGRAM:
The Boynton Beach town square master plan is the community’s vision to create a vibrant, memorable and resilient downtown for the City. It provides strategies to create an arts and civic district that anchors main street (Ocean Avenue) and integrates it into Boynton Beach boulevard. This district acts as a welcoming feature and an element that defines identity. It is one of the first things visitors and passersby will see, and will have a definitive impact in the long-term economic resilience of the City.
At the center of this district is the Old High School. Numerous commissions have discussed saving, restoring, integrating and/or reusing the building. Historic preservation and the cost of renovations have been extensively deliberated. Many plans have been crafted and reports generated. On May 17th, 2014, the community gathered once again around maps of the area between Boynton Beach Blvd., SE 2nd Ave., Seacrest Blvd. And SE 1st street. This time, over 100 residents and city representatives overwhelmingly expressed a desire to preserve the Old High School. There was consensus regarding preservation in general: either of the entire building, a part of it, or at least the notion of it. A general sentiment was evident that this could possibly be the community’s last chance to save the building because a) lack of preventive measures to protect the building from more damage have resulted in progressive deterioration; b) the exact condition, challenges and cost of restoration are largely unknown, c) general funding concerns, and d) budgetary concerns regarding the historic schoolhouse and future activities in the restored old high school. These concerns list just a few of the trials ahead.
The Boynton Beach community redevelopment agency, working in conjunction with the city, has taken an innovative approach to redevelopment. Consistent with successful historic preservation efforts in other communities, the agencies are evaluating the preservation of the old high school as part of a larger scheme: one that approaches the area as a complete district, understanding the synergy between the historic building, public and civic facilities and private development. This new approach addresses the entire district not just the block where the old high school sits. Within an area over 16 acres in size, the alternatives outlined in this report analyze relocating city hall, the police and fire departments and consolidating civic uses scattered around the district into a single structure. The goal is to upgrade civic infrastructure that is either obsolete or planned for relocation, “freeing up” land to maximize private development while expanding public use of the area. This approach will provide funding for rehabilitation of the historic structure and long term financial stability for the area. Most importantly, this district-wide approach integrates a balanced mix to ensure active uses and long term resiliency of the historic buildings and the city as a whole.
- Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council
- Michael J. Busha, Aicp - Executive Director
- Dana Little, Aicp - Urban Design Director
- Anthea Gianniottes, Aicp - Urban Design Director
- Marlene Brunot, Urban Designer
- Lauren Moss Clark
- Architects & Urban Designers
- Marcela Camblor-Cutsaimanis, Aicp - Principal, Marcela Camblor & Associates, Inc.
- Marice Chael, AIA - Principal, Chael Cooper Architects
- Juan Caruncho, AIA, Principal, Caruncho Architects
- Jose Venegas, AIA, Principal, Midtown Architecture Studio