Palm Beach County nature centers to remain open

Closures, layoffs avoided

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - Uncertainty is turning into relief for nature lovers across Palm Beach County. Budget cuts threatened to shut down nature centers this summer - but it looks like nature has prevailed.

Parts of the Green Cay Wetlands in Boynton Beach, the Daggerwing Nature Center in suburban Boca Raton, and the Okeeheelee Nature Center in West Palm Beach were being considered to be shut down this month. About a dozen people would've lost their jobs. Visitors say the possibility was disappointing.

"We love to come here and get out of the town atmosphere to relax and see all the beautiful animals," says Annette Tijerino, who visited the Wetlands Wednesday with her daughters.

The boardwalks could've remained open, but a shut down would've included the indoor areas, where all the educational activities take place. Volunteers are relieved that's no longer in the cards.

"I'm thrilled, honestly thrilled. It's open, it's free, it's a wonderful venue," says Elaine Greenberg, a Wetlands volunteer.

County Commissioners raised the property tax rate in Palm Beach County by less than 1% in order to keep these doors open, and save a few other programs. As long as that move is approved next week at a final public hearing, the doors will definitely stay open.


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