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Boynton/Delray boat parade to go on this year, future is questionable
Monday, 17 November 2014 22:00

Posted: 2:08 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014

By Alexandra Seltzer - Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

BOYNTON BEACH — There was a chance that the annual holiday boat parade that runs through the Intracoastal Waterway in Boynton Beach and Delray Beach would travel through only Boynton this year.

And some still want it to.

But at the last minute, just about one month before the event, Boynton decided to continue with tradition this year, and deal with concerns over a lack of contribution from Delray Beach before next year’s event.

“Seeing how it’s only a month away I believe the most important thing is continuity,” said Boynton Beach City Commissioner and Community Redevelopment Agency board member Mike Fitzpatrick. “I think we just do it and as other people said, plan better next year. Right now the thing is to get it out the door, we’re a month away.”

The boat parade is usually on a Friday, but this year the CRA planned to have it Saturday, Dec. 13, to accommodate boat captains who said they didn’t have enough time to leave work, get home and decorate their boat, and then get back in time for kickoff. However, Dec. 13 created a conflict because that is also the date of Delray’s street parade.

But then another problem arose: the Boynton CRA budgeted $12,000 for the parade and state statute says the money can only be used for Boynton activities, not the portion of the parade that goes into Delray.

Mayor Jerry Taylor said while Delray employees weren’t responsive to helping with the parade, he was contacted by Delray resident Reeve Bright. Bright was a chair of the parade for about 30 years and wanted it to continue as is.

On Wednesday, the CRA board — which includes the City Commission and two members of the public — decided the boat parade should be Friday to accommodate Delray Beach.

Delray officials didn’t attend the meeting, but Bright did, and offered to contribute money to the parade.

“It just seems to me that this has been a community event in our two towns for 40-something years and to just throw it under the bus by an inadvertent — and I say inadvertent because I know nobody did it on purpose — scheduling snafu, I just don’t think is right,” Bright said.

Bright also reminded the board that there was a time when Delray handled the parade and Boynton didn’t pay.

But not everyone on the CRA board thought it was best to move the parade to Friday.

“To me it’s a simple issue: What’s better for the city of Boynton Beach? If the CRA feels that Saturday is better then I back Saturday,” Commissioner David Merker said.

CRA board member James Buchanan said he thinks Boynton has the “short end of the stick” because not many residents can get home from work by the time the parade starts. He added he thought Delray “has shown no real interest in doing anything except having the parade go down that far.”

He also was concerned about how much money Bright would come up with to be in line with the statute, which wasn’t clearly answered at the meeting.

After about 35 minutes of discussion, the board decided to stick with Friday and address the issues before next year’s parade. Commissioners Merker and Mack McCray voted against.

“We don’t want to get into a mud-slinging over what I consider not that big of a deal here,” CRA board member Woodrow Hay said. “I’m willing to go along with doing it on Friday with the understanding we come back to the table before next year and talk about this as to what we can do to create a partnership that would be equal and justified.”


Boynton Beach/Delray Beach Holiday Boat Parade details

When: Friday, Dec. 12

What: Festivities start at 5:30 p.m. at the Boynton Beach Marina

Parade begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Lantana Bridge and travels south on the Intracoastal Waterway to the C-15 Canal.

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