Wellington’s Parks & Recreation Advisory Board met on Monday with several new members. Dr. Samuel Falzone was tapped for another year as chair.
Falzone, an obstetrician-gynecologist, has been on the board for eight years and is involved with soccer and other sports. He is joined on the newly reconfigured board by attorney Brian Buckstein with the law firm of Gonzalez, Shenkman & Buckstein; Richard Christmas, a Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue retiree; retired attorney William Flack, president of the Olympia Homeowners Association; longtime board member Anthony Forgione; real estate agent MaryJo Shockley of Keller Williams Realty; and attorney Jason Weiss.
Forgione nominated Falzone to return as chair, which was approved unanimously.
“He does a great job,” Forgione said.
“I would be happy to do it again,” Falzone said. “I think, especially with what I’m hearing from the Wellington Village Council this year, we’re going to be used much more, as in the past when the committee was first started. I’m looking forward to having more activity on our agendas.”
Flack said he would prefer one of the experienced members of the board as vice chair, and Falzone nominated Forgione for the job.
“I think Anthony would be a perfect second chair. He has been around and filled in along the way as vice chair and chair in the past,” Falzone said.
Forgione’s nomination carried unanimously.
Parks & Recreation Director Bruce DeLaney gave an update on recent activities and welcomed new members.
“There are some faces I’m familiar with and some that I’m not, so I want to welcome you,” he said. “Over the years, there have been times when there have been numerous issues that have come before this board, especially when we started with the village and we began building Village Park and everything that we had in our department. As time goes by, we build our facilities and we build our programs, our population starts to stabilize, and some of those decisions don’t come before you because they have been taken care of.”
DeLaney said that Wellington maintains a high recreation and athletics level of service. “The expectations of what we deliver in our programming are extremely high, and the vast majority of time, we meet those expectations,” he said.
DeLaney said that in March, the board served as the selection committee for a request for proposals that was put out for the tennis program at the recently completed Wellington Tennis Center.
“This board did an outstanding job in reviewing that,” he said. “After it was all done and over with, after some further financial review and some other questions, a decision was made that rather than continue with an independent contractor with our tennis facility, it made more sense for the village to bring the entire tennis program inside our department. We’re in that process now of determining who will be the managing person in the tennis facility and exactly how we move forward.”
DeLaney said he will give periodic updates on recreation programs, including Village Park, the Wellington Amphitheater, the Wellington Aquatics Complex, the Wellington Dog Park and the soon-to-open Wellington Community Center.
He said the board has talked in the past about the fee structure for the community center.
“We had a good discussion on that,” DeLaney said. “We brought it before the council, and they made a couple of minor changes in our fee structure and some of the room rentals, but for the most part, were in agreement with what we are doing.”
DeLaney said that the board will get its direction from the council.
“If they have items they would like you to take up, you will get direction from your council people who appointed you,” he said. “If there is something else that comes up from a departmental standpoint that is important to what we are doing, we will bring those issues in front of you also.”
He said that in the past, board members have also brought up items that they would like to discuss.
“In the event that you do, in fact, have something that you want to bring up and have the board take a look at and have some discussion on, the way that we have done that in the past is, at the next meeting, that would become part of the agenda,” DeLaney said. “We would address it at that point in time, which would give everybody an opportunity to do their own research.”
DeLaney passed out fliers for upcoming programs at the amphitheater, explaining that the programming includes local talent and the popular tribute bands, which he said have become a niche for the amphitheater.
“They are very popular, and typically those types of concerts will have anywhere from 600 to 1,000 people come,” he said. “That is a very, very popular event that we put on,” he said.
A popular addition has been the Food Truck Invasion.
“It continues to roll on,” he said. “Its popularity has been immense. We do food trucks on Thursday evenings, and we do local talent with the food trucks, and it has been another extremely popular event.”
Other events at the amphitheater include free movies and high school band concerts. A complete listing of events is on the village’s web site at www.wellingtonfl.gov.
Coming up is the annual Fourth of July celebration.
“It’s one of our major events that we put on in the village,” DeLaney said, adding that upward of 10,000 people attend.
In addition to a large fireworks display, the event includes bounce houses, vendors, slides, face painters and games.
“I would recommend that if you’re coming, please come early,” he said. “Parking is always an issue. We do run a bus service from the mall parking lot, but parking is always at a premium.”
Another major event will be the grand opening of the new community center, anticipated for early August, although a specific date has not been set.