Post endorsements: In Boynton Beach, keep McCray

The Boynton Beach City Commission needs to find an answer to the long-running problems in the Heart of Boynton area.

They’ve done some things for sure: Ocean Breeze West — a neighborhood of 21 single-family homes built by Habitat for Humanity, the faith-based Community Development Corp. and the CRA — and the Family Dollar store, which opened in October and is the first commercial development in that area in about 45 years, are two good examples.

But there’s not much beyond that. Three other projects in the blighted area either stalled or fell apart recently — The Cottage District, Ocean Breeze East and MLK Jr. South.

The blighted area, which reflects poorly on the city, needs businesses, jobs and affordable housing. It also needs more police presence on the streets.

Mack McCray

Vice Mayor Mack McCray says he has momentum and the focus to continue tackling these issues, and the Post is endorsing him for another term in District 2 to do just that. The Riverwalk Plaza and 500 Ocean projects show that downtown Boynton Beach is starting to move, McCray said, adding that he is finally working with a cohesive commission whose members are not focused solely on their own agendas. “We all agree attracting business development to the Heart of Boynton is a frustration,” he said.

The commission’s new control of the Community Redevelopment Agency, which many saw as a power grab, leaves them with little excuse to make clear progress.

McCray also rightly voted for the temporary moratorium on new sober home operations in Boynton Beach. Though chided by some for the controversial move, McCray is right that the Florida Legislature needs to do more to help cities that are under siege from the scourge of illegal sober homes — and related drug overdose deaths.

McCray is being challenged for the seat by former mayor and commissioner Woodrow Hay, who is well-known in the district, and political newcomer Dr. James J. DeVoursney. Hay, 70, and DeVoursney, 55, both agree that the Heart of Boynton needs more attention. Both would get tougher with developers wanting to do projects in the CRA with taxpayer incentives.

But McCray is right that working with commission members who are already on the same page will be a plus.

District 4 Commissioner Joe Casello was returned to his seat because he did not draw a challenger.

Palm Beach Post endorsements for the March 14 municipal elections will be posted online throughout this week on a city by city basis. They will be published in total in the Sunday, March 12, print edition.