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Crowd pleads with city leaders over Old School Square lease termination

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Posted at 9:51 PM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-17 23:28:41-04

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Dozens of people showed up to a city commission Tuesday in Delray Beach to protest a decision made by city leaders last week.

In a 3-2 vote, the commission agreed to end the lease agreement with the nonprofit that has managed Old School Square for 30 years, stating there have been issues with a lag in reporting necessary audits and other documents.

There was an outcry from the public over the decision, many left questioning why the decision was made. During public comment, two dozen people address the commission about their vote, many stating this vote was not transparent.

"Votes are being made based on personality and not policy and it was made without any notice to the public," said one speaker.

Others said the commission did not give the public the chance to give their input.

"You must be really busy to not have time to not do your diligence and making decisions on behalf of the taxpayers in Delray Beach," said one commenter.

"You decided, without notice, without a conversation with Old School Square or the community, to end a 30-year partnership," added another.

The commission heard from people for the hour given to public comment, but the three who voted yes all agreed they would not discuss the matter further and their vote stands.

"It seems they have made their mind up, regardless of what anybody says," said Holland Ryan, who is the chief operation officer at Old School Square.

He said litigation is still an option for them, but they hope to avoid it.

Old School Square has been given 180 days until their lease ends. The city manager said city staff is currently looking at how and who the city would place in a management position.