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Boynton Beach is a city in Palm Beach County, Florida, United States. The population was 68,217 at the 2010 census. In 2017, the city had an estimated population of 73,992 according to the University of Florida, Bureau of Economic and Business Research. Boynton Beach is a principal city of the Miami metropolitan area, which was home to an estimated 6,012,331 people at the 2015 census.
In 1894, two years before Henry Morrison Flagler built his railroad, a former American Civil War major named Nathan Boynton first set eyes on the area that now bears his name. Boynton hailed from Port Huron, Michigan. He was so impressed by the natural beauty of the year-round sunshine and pristine beaches, he built the famous Boynton Hotel, where he also spent winters with his family. The first settlers, whom Boynton had brought along from Michigan, soon realized that many fruits and vegetables thrived in the fertile climate. Pineapples, tomatoes, mangoes, and citrus fruit were packed in crates and shipped by the ton on the newly built Florida East Coast Railroad to satisfy the appetites of hungry Americans across the country. Major Boynton died on May 27, 1911 in Port Huron, but the hotel lasted until 1925.
Boynton Beach was founded on September 26, 1898 when Byrd Spilman Dewey and her husband Fred S. Dewey filed the original plat in the Dade County courthouse for the Town of Boynton. The town was incorporated in 1920 as the Town of Boynton. The name "Boynton Beach" was first used by a community that broke off from the Town of Boynton in 1931. In 1939, that community changed its name to "Ocean Ridge" while The Town of Boynton took the name "Boynton Beach" in 1941.
In 1926, the Seaboard Air Line Railway entered what was then simply Boynton, spurring land development a mile inland near the Seaboard station, including the town's first planned subdivision, Lake Boynton Estates. As land became more valuable, areas along the Intracoastal Waterway and the Federal Highway in Boynton also saw housing developments. To the west, many dairies were founded so that the Boynton area became the main milk supplier for Palm Beach County. By the 1970s, the dairies were no longer profitable and these lands too were converted to housing developments.
Boynton Beach Oceanfront Park is located just north of the original Boynton Hotel site. In 1921, the Town of Boynton acquired the beach site from Lewis S. Howe by eminent domain for park and recreation purposes. The beach casino was built in 1928 and featured a large dining hall, locker rooms and showers and residents used the casino for parties and social gatherings. The casino was demolished in 1967 and the property remained part of the beach park.
From the 1920s to today, Boynton Beach Oceanfront Park has been popular with residents and visitors alike. In the mid-1990s, the park underwent a major renovation during which the boardwalk was rebuilt out of recycled plastic. Boynton Beach's Oceanfront Park was voted the best family beach in Palm Beach County by The Palm Beach Post in 2001. In 2011 the boardwalk was renovated again, replacing the plastic with ipe (pronounced ee-pay) wood (commonly known as Brazilian walnut). In 2012 improvements were made to the buildings along the boardwalk, including total refurbishment of the restrooms.
Hurricane Wilma struck Boynton Beach on October 24, 2005, causing widespread damage to homes and businesses. In 2006, the city government authorized the demolition of the historic Seaboard rail station, which had survived intact in private hands since passenger service to the station halted in 1971.
2006 saw an increase in gang-related violent crime. This mirrored a similar increase across Palm Beach County. A gang-related shooting that resulted in a death at the city's popular Boynton Beach Mall on Christmas Eve of 2006 caught the national attention on many networks, such as CBS. There were ten known operating gangs in the city as of 2007, according to police, including the notorious South Florida Haitian Zoe Pound gang. As of 2009, countywide gang violence had fallen three percent.
On January 27, 2012, Mayor Jose Rodriguez was suspended from office by the state governor for trying to influence a police investigation into his personal affairs.
As of 2010, there were 36,289 households out of which 19.8% were vacant. As of 2000, 22.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.4% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.2% were non-families. 33.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.87.
In 2000, the city's population was spread out with 19.9% under the age of 18, 6.4% from 18 to 24, 28.1% from 25 to 44, 19.8% from 45 to 64, and 25.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.5 males.
In 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $39,845, and the median income for a family was $47,546. Males had a median income of $32,503 versus $26,399 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,573. About 7.4% of families and 10.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.9% of those under age 18 and 7.2% of those age 65 or over.
In 2000, native speakers of English accounted for 80.09% of all residents, while speakers of French Creole comprised 7.51%, Spanish was at 7.30%, French consisted of 1.02%, Italian at 0.97%, and German made up 0.87% of the population.
Like all of Palm Beach County, Boynton Beach is served by the School District of Palm Beach County. As of 2006, it was the fifth largest school district in Florida and the twelfth largest school district in the United States.
Boynton Beach is served by a Tri-Rail station of the same name linking Boynton Beach to West Palm Beach to the north and Miami to the south. It is also serviced by local buses provided by PalmTran.
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