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City Awarded $20,250 to fund Heritage Education Program

The City of Boynton Beach has been awarded a Small Matching Historic Preservation Grant of $18,250, from the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources, for creating the first element of the Boynton Beach Heritage Education Program. The grant, along with $2,000 from the CRA, will be used to fund a heritage education program comprised of several elements that will benefit students, residents, visitors and the local economy. The program will increase awareness of the City's cultural heritage, promote the Historic Preservation Program and heritage tourism and contribute to the revitalization of the downtown area. The elements of the Heritage Education Program are a Downtown Heritage Trail, printed educational material and online educational resources.

The Downtown Heritage Trail will include approximately 30 significant sites comprising examples of numerous architectural styles and types, parks and natural landscapes. The trail, which runs between Seacrest Boulevard and the Intracoastal Waterway, is approximately 1½ miles long and can be completed on foot. All required infrastructure, such as parking, rest rooms, accessibility requirements and rest areas/restaurants, is already in place. Safety requirements have been considered and the trail includes only one major road crossing which has both traffic signals and a median.

Free-standing information boards will be installed at various locations on the downtown trail. The boards will provide information on the sites, historic images and maps and will contain a Quick Response (QR) code which may be scanned by a smart phone for online access to further site-specific information.

The downtown trail has been planned to encourage families, students, and visitors to explore the downtown area and use facilities such as the library and the Schoolhouse Children's Museum. While spending time in the downtown area, it is anticipated that visitors will use the services of local businesses, some of which are housed in historic structures, thus providing a significant boost to the downtown economy and regeneration plans.

Educational brochures indicating the route of the heritage trail will be published and made available free of charge throughout the City. The brochures will list all sites on the trails and will contain the QR codes which will allow them to be utilized in a classroom or home setting.

The grant will also fund the creation of a freely available online educational system. The QR codes from the heritage trail signs will link participants to web pages providing further information on the sites and the City's history. There will also be access to an interactive map comprising several informational layers illustrating the heritage trail sites, the City's development patterns and historic street names. Users will be able to click on individual items for further information. The heritage trail brochures will also be available online for free download.

This grant will allow the City to implement the first stage of what will be an ongoing commitment to the promotion of heritage education. Future plans include adding further sites to the trail, creating new trails, combining the trails with the City's green ways and blue ways, and if this year’s grant application is successful, the creation of a smart phone application to promote cultural sites on a city-wide basis.