Term-limited Scott steps down from Boca City Council; takes job at FAU

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By Dale King The Pineapple Contributing Writer Constance Scott has relinquished her post as a City Council member in Boca Raton, a position she won in 2009 after working a lifetime in the finance, banking and economic development fields and spending several years as public information officer for the city of Boca. She stepped down because of term limits after six years as a council member, which included a year as deputy mayor and several heading the Community Redevelopment Agency. As CRA chair, she led consideration of projects that have developed in sections of the downtown, including Mizner Park. Her last day on the council was March 31. In less than a month, she had moved from City Hall to the administration building at Florida Atlantic University where she is now director of local relations for the Boca-based education center. A Boca native and graduate of Boca Raton High School, she has a BA in economics from the University of Michigan. She met her husband, Tom, in that state where she served as economic development manager for the city of Flint. Tom Scott was a state legislator in Michigan, and they returned to Constance’s hometown after he retired. “I’ve been very fortunate to have a supportive husband because being on the council requires a significant commitment,” she noted. While serving as Boca’s PIO, Scott devoted much work to passage of two referenda, one that expanded and improved the Fire Department and the other which brought about construction of a new downtown library and the Spanish River Library on Spanish River Boulevard. She also built strong relationships with firefighters, paramedics and the police department and has supported the Police Athletic League, which provides sports programs for children. She continued her job at Citi Bank in Boca Raton during her first three-year council term. Scott was employed by the Small Business Development Center at Palm Beach State College during the first two years of her second term, then quit work to devote last year to the city and to personal matters at home. “I served the city with the desire to set policies that would continue to keep Boca Raton the most desirable community in which to live, work and play.” Projects included the allotment of $3.9 million to the infrastructure for downtown development. Other efforts, she said, encompassed the Sanborn Square Promenade, improvements to Palmetto Park Road that encourage pedestrian traffic and the Mizner Park renaissance. The CRA also bought back the Count de Hoernle amphitheater. A total of 110,000 people attended events there during the first year and an additional 150,000 people a year after that” That Mizner Park rebirth, she said, incorporates the arrival of the iPic Theater, Lord & Taylor, the Yard House restaurant and the Jazziz Jazz Club. In 2010, the American Planning Association designated Mizner Park as one of 10 Great Public Spaces under the organization’s Great Places in America program. “We have an incredible retail and entertainment area,” she said, as well as a vibrant residential sector as present and past plans for some 1,600 housing units are reaching fruition. Scott said her style of service has been to “build coalitions with supporters and nonsupporters.” As a member of the council, Scott demonstrated strong leadership and always remained independent.” Not bad for a woman who did not have the support of the mayor, City Council or Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce when she ran six years ago. Mayor Susan Whelchel, who was chief executive in 2009, recalled during a Constance Scott Appreciation Reception April 2 that she backed Scott’s opponent in that balloting. So did the Chamber’s political action committee. But Scott did have “the police and fire unions, the newspapers, the business community, the voting and neighborhood constituencies.” She managed to win the council seat with 56 percent of the vote. By 2012, when it was time for her to run for reelection, she was unopposed. Whelchel said she “got a golden opportunity to serve” with Scott. “I found her to be someone I could trust. She has always told the truth. She came in knowing you have to be true to yourself, to be a leader. Nothing happens unless you step up.” Scott “did her homework and did it well,” the ex-mayor said. “We have a beautiful city. We have a few cranes in the air, but those will become beautiful buildings.” Another guest at Scott’s appreciation event, former Mayor Steven Abrams, now a County Commissioner, said he has appointed her to be his delegate to the county’s Business Development Board. He praised her for being “an instrumental part of the city’s successful effort to attract thousands of jobs to Boca.” Though she is working for FAU, Scott said she will still be active in the community. “I will be on the PAL Board and other boards such as Tri County Animal Rescue,” she said. “I will be around and you will be hearing from me.”