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Boca airport observation deck in the works

How would you like to drive right into Boca Raton Airport and watch planes take off and land? That’s coming next year.

The latest plans for a 4-foot raised, circular area with covered seating close to the main building were presented to Boca Raton Airport Authority’s board.

The entrance walk will have two ADA compliant ramps with railings, no stairs. “You’ll be able to see on the way up and take pictures,” principal and owner of Hauber Fowler & Associates Sharon Kay Hauber said in her update.

The approach will include native landscaping to prevent visitors from walking into the gopher tortoise habitat, A fence will have an anemometer and windsock features.

“Shade has to be a ‘must have.’ If it’s 90 degrees, they won’t want to come,” said board member Cheryl Budd.

The design should include more shade trees or even awnings, in addition to the permanent structure, board members agreed. As long as the tree don’t attract wildlife too close to the runways, noted Bob Tucker, who had made this a pet project. “This will be a wonderful addition to our footprint,” he said.

Parking for five vehicles and eight bicycles is included in the plan, with more parking nearby. Tucker recommended parking for school buses, too.

The cost will be shared with Florida Department of Transportation. And the authority board approved a grant bringing FDOT’s share to $330,000 and the airport’s to $82,500. That’s available in their budget, airport executive director Clara Bennett said.

The board asked Hauber for proposals for additional shade by their next meeting April 21.

The city’s permitting and the engineering design should be approved by September and a construction bid out by mid-fall, Bennett said. “We should have the facility open to the public in a year.”

By Marci Shatzman

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