Due to construction changes and a sound study done after resident complaints about noise from Royal Palm Beach Commons Park, a new amphitheater at the park will not be ready by the original target date of next July. Instead, completion is expected next fall.
Royal Palm Beach Parks & Recreation Director Lou Recchio gave an update on the status of construction of the new amphitheater at the Recreation Advisory Board meeting on Monday, Nov. 28, as well as completion of the perimeter pathway, which will be ideal for 5K events.
Recchio said a contractor has been hired to build the amphitheater and new restrooms, and a preconstruction meeting took place this week. Work will get underway right after the holidays.
“You’re going to see a lot of activity out at Commons Park putting that amphitheater in,” he said.
The initial target date was July 4, but that has been moved to coincide with next year’s Fall Festival in October.
“We made some changes and adjustments,” Recchio said. “We had sound issues that we wanted to make sure we address, so July 4 is unrealistic. We’re probably looking more in the line of the Fall Festival. It probably should be ready by then, [but] the weather determines a lot, which we have no control over.”
Worst-case scenario is that the amphitheater will not be ready until next year’s holiday festivities in December.
Recchio added that the northern pathway at Commons Park will be finished soon, making a complete loop around the perimeter of the park.
“When you enter the park at Poinciana Blvd. on the north side, which is undeveloped, we’ve got the driving range and the putting greens, but that’s where the next phase of the pathway will be, on the perimeter of that, which is going to be about a mile and a half,” he said. “The entire perimeter will be a 3-mile walk, so to have a 5K, it’s ideal.”
He said 5K events currently run twice around on the existing southern portion of the pathway.
“They won’t have to go twice around,” Recchio said. “There will be one complete lap, and it will be a great addition.”
The pathway addition will also connect with a new pedestrian entrance to the park from Heron Parkway.
“If you remember, a year or so ago we bought a house and tore it down and opened it up,” Recchio said. “It’s a vacant lot, which is going to be a pathway so that people in the neighborhood can walk to the park. It is not for vehicular traffic; strictly pedestrian traffic.”
Recchio added that the Fourth of July celebration will go on as in the past, with temporary stages while the amphitheater construction is going on.
“They know that they have to keep it clean,” he said of the contractors. “Visitors are coming constantly to the park. We still have our food truck invasions on a monthly basis, which we’ve already made arrangements and moved to the north side of the sporting center.”
As for other projects, Recchio said that work on Field 5 at the Bob Marcello Baseball Complex, designed for high-school-age players, is finished, and the tennis courts have been renovated.
“We’ve gone through the final walkthrough,” he said. “Everything is good to go. With the additions that we made, we did not touch the infield of the ballfield. We did the outfield drainage, adding some more turf. We expanded the fence and went out from 285 feet to 325 feet. We added a pathway, which goes completely around the perimeter of the park. We’ve added a little fishing dock with a small picnic pavilion on the water, and we totally renovated the two tennis courts there.”
Recchio noted that the village fielded frequent calls about when those tennis courts would open.
“They are open, and people have been out there,” he said. “This year, the only thing we’re going to be doing, which is in our budget and has been approved, is putting new lights on those tennis courts. That will be done sometime this spring.”
The ballfield will be open in time for the spring high school baseball season.
“You’ll actually have the kids right up through high school who will be able to play at the Bob Marcello Baseball Complex,” Recchio said. “We have requests all the time from the coaches at the high schools to use the field. It will be open to them, so now you’ll have kids from 4 years old up to 19 years old playing in that park.”
The village is moving forward with other projects and that he will update the committee about at its next meeting.
“We’ve got a lot on our plate right now, but they’re moving along, and we’re pretty excited about it,” Recchio said.
The village will have two trees lit up this holiday season, one at Veterans Park and another at Commons Park. Through Jan. 2, the splash fountain at Veterans Park will be shut off.
“The tree is going in the middle of the [splash] park,” Recchio said. “That’s where it was for the first time. Prior to that, we had it up on the hill next to the Veterans Memorial. This is more centralized, and it seems to work out a lot better.”
Royal Palm Beach’s Winter Fest 2016 is set for Saturday, Dec. 3 at Commons Park. Activities will start at 1 p.m., with the tree lighting at 6:15 p.m. and the arrival of Santa Claus at 6:30 p.m.