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A ‘downtown’ in Boynton — Is there one in the future… or is this it?
Thursday, 31 March 2016 21:20

By Alexandra Seltzer - Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Posted: 10:55 a.m. Wednesday, March 30, 2016
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BOYNTON BEACH — Kim Kelly has been waiting two decades for a downtown in Boynton Beach, but she thinks it’s finally coming.
“It’s been 20 years of waiting but I welcome it. How can you not?” the Hurricane Alley owner said.
Give it five years, and you’ll see, she said.
To her, it’s already visible.
She steps out of the Alley’s front door and sees the retail and residential project, 500 Ocean, under construction. She turns to the right and there’s a few stores and East Ocean Cafe. She turns to the left and across the street is where the old Bank of America was, where eight-story condos might go. And next to that is where the city wants to bring in a hotel — “the smartest thing” they could do, she says.
It’s all happening around Federal Highway and Ocean Avenue.
Elected officials look at 500 Ocean and hope it will be a catalyst for a downtown; a reason for more people to call Boynton their home.
But what if the people don’t show? What if 500 Ocean’s retail spaces remain mostly empty like in Casa Costa? What if it doesn’t happen?
Kellee Ray, owner of Sol Oasis Healing Arts Center, says it will take more than 500 Ocean to spur a downtown. Boynton needs more activities, such as the Pirate Fest, to draw people in, she said. Ocean Avenue needs more shops, she says while peeking out her business’ front window.
Ray sees Ocean Avenue transforming. But she knows other people don’t.
“People are like ‘Boynton? My parents have lived in Boynton for 50 years nothing’s changing in Boynton,’” Ray said. “It’d be really nice to have a downtown and to get the Town Square finished. I love the Movies in the Park. But so much more can be done on a smaller scale that will make people have a more seaside feel, and more lively.”
So does Boynton’s “downtown” already exist?
To Tami Schreurs, whose mother Lynda Tatara owns The Blossom Shoppe Florist and Gifts, Ocean Avenue already is the city’s downtown, even without all the incoming development. She agrees that the city shouldn’t be counting on 500 Ocean to be the end all be all.
“This is considered downtown,” she says while walking around the flower shop.

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