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About Boca Raton

HISTORY

The city of Boca Raton in the mind of a tourist is a vision of socialite parties, trendsetting and jet-set figures of the rich and famous. That may all be true, but along with these highlights also turns up a community filled with an environment rich in culture and education, a magnet for corporations to relocate and an a attractive place for young families to settle and retirees to spend their golden years.

Literally translated, Boca Raton means "mouth of the rat". As unappetizing as that may sound for a city's name, in reality, early Spanish settlers meant to describe the destructive and gnawing (Raton) damage suffered by their ships from the coral reefs within the inlet (Boca) of Lake Boca Raton's waters.

The city's beginnings in the 1800s included trade between the Native American Calusa Indians, fruit harvest Japanese colonists migrants recruited to build one of Henry Flagler's Florida East Coast Railway many stops, and settlers from Georgia and the Carolinas. What was thought to be a sure investment of pioneering a community was followed by the financial defeat of Addison Mizner's dream of a city utopia coupled with environmental disasters of blights and hurricanes in the early 1900s.

Incorporated into a city by 1925, Boca Raton began the long but steady work of converting itself into one of the cultural and societal cities in the United States that its best known today. The Boca Raton Historical Society anchors the city's legacy by preserving its past through museums, exhibits and historical tours. 253

More info: Boca's timeline (http://www.bocahistory.org/history_txt.asp) 

 

NEIGHBORHOOD (What it is like):

Much of the beginnings of Boca Raton's older neighborhoods were heavily influenced by California architect Addison Mizner. After moving to the area in the 1920s, he established a Spanish Mediterranean motif that would become the city's permanent theme in ambience and facades. Many public buildings today maintain his namesake as the visionary who once had a dream of his own master planned community as well as for building the Cloister Inn Hotel in 1925, better known today as the Boca Raton Hotel and Resort.

After World War II, Boca Raton finished its use as a major military installation area and began forming its neighborhoods, as we know them today. However, by the 1980s, urban deterioration of the downtown and historic areas prompted the revitalization campaign led by the Boca Raton Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). Its efforts revitalized Boca Raton's rank into one of the top ten U.S. housing markets according to the National Association of Realtors with higher than average home sale prices.

The CRA also placed a heavier emphasis in building new libraries, restoration and improvements of environmental areas and the full-scale implementation or arts through education support, presentation and culture as a whole. In 1991, Mizner Park opened to all as the center jewel piece for culture, arts, education and entertainment. 213

 

STATISTICS/DEMOGRAPHICS:

The majority of Boca Raton's residents are made up of mostly white, educated, family oriented professionals who enjoy a median household income that ranges above the national average of $67,000. A large portion of its population depicts the large number of baby boomers and future retirees within the 34-54 age category that have come to Boca Raton to invest and live out their years in comfort.

The city's population has grown to almost 180,000 by 2003 (including the city's surrounding suburbs) with 80,000 residents living within the Greater Boca Raton area. However, the city's population percentage growth has stabilized as of late with death rates far outweighing birth rates and growth almost exclusively made up by in-migration through corporate relocation, university and college students and foreign immigration.

27 square miles of area makes Boca Raton the 2nd largest city in West Palm Beach County and the 24th largest populated city in the state of Florida. This area has been carefully planned to support all its goals of urban development to co-exist with environmental preservation. Its five mile of beaches has been completely acquired for public use and already efforts are underway to add to its already 4 oceanfront pubic parks. 200


LOCAL GOVERNMENT:

If you were to ask city government to show you an organizational diagram of its government layout, you would distinctively see the "people" of Boca Raton at the top as its ultimate decision makers. Serving the people of Boca Raton is a five-member, non-partisan Council elected at large every two years. Its main duty is to set city policy through legislation and the City Manager thus administers this policy.

Many of the city's public safety services emphasize initially making a mark within its community through proactive action with its service-related programs focusing on children and adolescent safety, family health, preventive medicine and geriatric services.

All these programs are communicated to its residents via the city's wide array of media coverage tools that include its Public Government Television Channel 20, through City Radio 1650AM and of most recently, its comprehensive online city website at http://www.ci.boca-raton.fl.us/.

One of Boca Raton's most proud accomplishments is its long running 24-year designation as "Tree City USA" fully demonstrating its commitment in keeping its city limits beautiful with the use of natural beauty through trees and landscaping green areas all for its residents to enjoy.189

 

PARKS & RECREATION:

South Florida's average temperature of 78 degrees Fahrenheit makes it a natural place to explore the outdoors, enjoy year-round athletics and experience recreation made for its tropical lifestyle. Its five miles of public beaches continuously attract residents and tourists alike in soaking Florida's natural resources of sun, sand and relaxation.

Festivals throughout the year are a major attraction to Boca Raton, including Boca Festival Days held in the month of August offering varied events made to educate, entertain and relax resident and tourists the same. Capping off each year is the ever-popular Holiday Boat Parade celebrating the winter months in beautiful mild weather.

Protection of the environment is a major concern for Boca Raton residents and nowhere is it more evident than through the Gumbo Limbo Environmental Complex. Endangered faunal and animal species are lovingly cared for in this 20-acre sanctuary specifically created to provide a living environmental classroom for everyone to learn and contribute to environmental preservation.

Athletics play a major part for young and old. Children and adolescents can participate in various youth leagues including soccer, baseball and football. The Boca Raton Youth Athletic Association Inc. has provided children with the opportunity to play league sports where they could not elsewhere since 1998. Adults enjoy competitive sports the same with a state of the art athletic complex as well as separate league sports, including the Boca Raton Buccaneer Rugby Club. 232
 

BUSINESS CLIMATE:

Retail Trade, Business Services and Health Care make up about two-thirds of employment for Boca Raton and Palm Beach County. Higher than average per capita income and home sale prices has been spurred on by the implementation and relocation of many major companies such as Office Depot, Equifax, Auto Nation, BellSouth, Florida Power and Light, Sports Authority, Bank Atlantic, Gunn Allen Financial, Tyco Industries and Sun-Sentinel taking advantage of Florida's absence of state income tax rates.

Recently, MSN.com rated geriatric, home elderly and retirement related business services as some of the hottest entrepreneurial ideas in the last decade. Boca Raton's large baby boomer population has been established as a prime client base providing a much sought after business base for small business owners helping boost the city's economy.

An important part of Boca Raton's economic movement is seen through retiree's use of money from investments, retirement pensions fully keeping the area's service sector busy.

The Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce also takes an active role in stimulating business throughout the year by hosting events in an effort to mingle different business sectors to cooperate with each other especially through the cyclic business seasons that the city experiences as an important tourist hub. 201

 

 

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