Boynton delays downtown safety study
Thursday, 10 July 2014 17:55


By Attiyya AnthonySun Sentinel

11:14 a.m. EDT, July 10, 2014

On Tuesday, the Boynton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency board decided to put off spending $19,000 on a study to find out how potential business owners perceive safety in the city’s downtown.

At the agency’s regular meeting, Vivian Brooks, the agency’s executive director, said that a safety assessment of the city’s downtown is an important part of Boynton Beach’s rebranding and marketing strategies.

The board unanimously agreed to table the item until consultant Ken Stapleton, who would be conducting the study, brings the board more information on his previous experience next month. If approved, the  assessment would include a focus group, day and night visits, evaluation of travel paths and parking.  “One of the pieces we’re missing is what does the outside world think of Boynton Beach,” she said.

Board Chairman Jerry Taylor and Vice Chairman Joe Casello said that they have talked to residents and downtown safety isn’t a concern.  But Brooks says that according to a recent stakeholders survey, the perception of crime was the No. 1 deterrent when business owners were bringing their ideas to Boynton Beach.

Casello said that spending more money on another study is a waste of money. “Our closet here in City Hall is full of consultants and studies, all of them dusty,” he said. “We know what we need, what we’re trying to accomplish and what our shortcomings are, we don’t need anyone telling us what we already know.” Casello said that the city has empty storefronts because there aren’t enough people living downtown.

Board member David Merker was in favor of the study.

“Personally I heard that image is so important and part of image is safety,” he said. “You do the report to prove to the people that this is a wonderful city to buy in and live in, and safety is a key element to that.”

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