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Old dive shop to be torn down
Wednesday, 20 May 2015 14:49

Posted: 4:11 p.m. Tuesday, May 19, 2015
By Alexandra Seltzer - Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

With the Palm Beach County Commission's blessing, Boynton Beach can now move forward with tearing down an old dive shop at the marina.
The two-story vacant building will be replaced with an open green space for the public.
"It's been our plan for a long time and to bring it to fruition is a wonderful feeling," Vivian Brooks, the director of Boynton's Community Redevelopment Agency, told The Palm Beach Post on Tuesday.
The green space, which according to documents is expected to cost about $700,000, will be shaded and will include trees, landscaping, a walkway and a seating area. Brooks said the CRA will send out an invitation to bid for the project, possibly by the end of June, and then qualified bidders will be brought back to the CRA board for consideration. The demolition will take place as part of the project once awarded.
The marina, just south of Boynton Beach Boulevard, is home to restaurants Two Georges and Banana Boat, condo development Marina Village and several fishing and diving businesses. In March, the CRA held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Harbor Master Building which has a small store, and restrooms open during business hours. The green space is the last piece of the Boynton Harbor Marina redevelopment project.
County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to give the CRA permission to demolish the property. Their permission was necessary as part of a 2006 agreement, according to documents, between the county and Boynton when the county gave the city a $2 million grant to go toward the marina. The agreement restricted any construction, renovation or alteration to the building.
Lynn Simmons ran her business Splashdown Divers in the building until about four years ago when the CRA evicted her. She still runs the charter business, and owns Marina Bites convenience store.
Simmons tried convincing the commission to vote against allowing the demolition, and raised arguments about the cost of what the green space will be compared to repairing the building. She also said the new restrooms are too far for the public.
Marina Village resident Linda Cross told the commissioners the building is an eyesore and also causes a safety hazard.
County Commissioner Steven L. Abrams agreed, and called the building "dilapidated" and "beyond repair."

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