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Stop Sprawl
Fall 2000 Sprawl Report

States at a Glance: Florida

Mizner Park
(Boca Raton)
Jazz and Smart Growth Revive Dying Mall
(St. Johns and Duval Counties)
Developer Builds a Suburb in Sensitive Wetlands

Mizner Park
(Boca Raton)
Jazz and Smart Growth Revive Dying Mall

Decaying malls are oftentimes painful evidence of an area's decline. By the 1980s, the Boca Raton Mall had reached that point -- it was in bad shape. That's when the city's Community Reinvestment Agency and developer Tom Crocker stepped in. They mapped out a redevelopment project, received approval from both the city council and voters, and moved forward with their plans.

These plans have brought Mizner Park, a remarkable new town center, to Boca Raton. Forty businesses face a tree-lined pedestrian plaza. The plaza's village green holds fountains, benches and gazebos. Many of the area's 480 residents live in apartments set above storefronts. Not only do the residents have convenient access to neighborhood stores, they're also just a few minutes walk from cultural and entertainment centers, a transit stop and the nearest park.

Community events, including jazz concerts and art festivals, are held regularly in the center's amphitheater. And residents and visitors alike are enjoying a unique addition to Boca Raton's landscape: the International Museum of Cartoon Art.

(St. Johns and Duval Counties)
Developer Builds a Suburb in Sensitive Wetlands

Nocatee, a massive new development of 15,000 acres of woodland and wetlands will be built on the rural pinelands of southern Jacksonville and northern St. Johns County. The development, slated for 35,000 residents, threatens to push sprawl far into the region's open space and sensitive wetlands. The area is designated as Regionally Significant Habitat for many critical wildlife species including the imperiled Florida black bear.

While the project will preserve 2400 acres, the worst feature of this development is that it will be built in the middle of a floodplain near Snowden Bay and on the headwaters of the Tolomato River. Over 470 acres of sensitive wetlands will be destroyed by the project.

The development will have greenways and paths, but it will be split down the middle by a major highway, creating a hostile environment for pedestrians, cyclists and wildlife. To make matters worse, there is no public transportation in the area, and the development is far from the services and jobs its residents will need.

Nocatee will create a massive new city three times the size of the city of St. Augustine in the middle of a completely rural area. Nocatee will be at least half an hour drive time from most jobs and without any public transportation. Florida has given a lot of lip service to smart growth, but this project shows that sprawl is still on the loose.

States at a Glance | Introduction | Resources | Acknowledgments

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