RPB Officials: Cultural Center Move Hasn’t Crimped Rec Center

The Royal Palm Beach Recreation Advisory Board met on Monday, Nov. 27. At the meeting, Parks & Recreation Director Lou Recchio led a succession of reports for the board to consider.

Present at the meeting were Chair Phyllis Katz and Vice Chair John Riordan, along with board members Carlton Brooks, Shenoy Raghuraj, Denis Seibert and Sandy Rubin. Councilwoman Selena Smith was also present in her role as council liaison.

Recchio started by explaining that everything has been moved out of the Royal Palm Beach Cultural Center, with ongoing Cultural Center programs taking up temporary residence at the Royal Palm Beach Recreation Center. Meanwhile, construction has begun on the long-planned renovations to the Cultural Center.

Smith requested weekly photo updates of the renovation’s progression, and Recchio said that should be possible. He also extended an invitation to tour the building to any board and council member.

Katz asked whether there had been any complaints by neighbors, and Recchio said as far as he knew, there was none.

The new amphitheater at Royal Palm Beach Commons Park is now complete, including restrooms, he reported.

“We are working now with the contractor on something we call a ‘punch list,’ which you walk through the facility and make a list of odds and ends that need to be tweaked,” Recchio explained. “The restrooms are open and available.”

He added that neighbors of Commons Park have not complained about the noise level during musical entertainment events at the new amphitheater. Controlling ambient noise was a major focus of the amphitheater’s design.

Mike Mikolaichik, newly named assistant recreation director, is based in the Recreation Center.

“We have been extremely busy at the Recreation Center, but that’s exactly the way it should be,” he said.

He — and the entire staff — welcome the seniors and all of the increased foot traffic in the building that comes with temporarily absorbing the activities and programs from the Cultural Center.

The coed youth basketball program is about to get underway. The games run from December through February. There are approximately 230 participants currently enrolled, and the program is open to anyone ages 5 to 14.

The youth basketball program for grades nine through 12 is also taking applications. Mikolaichik added that the coed youth volleyball league — for ages 11 to 14 — is also enrolling right now.

He emphasized that the special populations baseball program is set to begin in January for children and young adults with special needs.

The games are on Friday evenings at the Bob Marcello Baseball Complex.

“It gives these children the chance to experience baseball in a social setting. Most of the participants are returning from past years, and there are 20 to 25 participants every season,” Mikolaichik said. “It’s a great program; get out there on Friday night and check it out. We can use all the volunteers that are available.”

The early childhood classroom program and classes have received a lot of positive feedback from village residents. He said one of the factors is a new instructor. Soccer Tots, Little Sluggers, youth dance, karate and tennis are currently being offered to the youth in the village, he said.

The adult flag-football league is now wrapping up its season. Eight teams played at Seminole Palms Park on Wednesday evenings, and the next season is set to begin in February.

“We are currently taking registrations for our adult basketball league, which is set to begin in January,” said Mikolaichik, adding that there were 150 participants last year.

He said pickleball is a new craze that has been attracting 20 to 25 regulars every day to the open gym times at the Recreation Center, which is Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Mikolaichik also said pickleball lines have been drawn on the tennis courts at the Bob Marcello Baseball Complex.

Lastly, he said the village is exploring the idea of starting a youth wrestling program.

There are a number of exercise classes and activities available at the Recreation Center for people of all ages. For more information, visit www.royalpalmbeach.com.

Community & Cultural Events Superintendent Carlos Morales also addressed the board. His offices have relocated from the Cultural Center to the Sporting Center at Commons Park.

He talked about the various activities at the Teen Battle of the Bands at the Commons Park amphitheater on Nov. 17. The local band Expressway to the Stars won $250 and an opportunity to headline a future concert for the village.

Morales was also excited about the Insane Inflatables event held at Commons Park on Nov. 11, which had 1,200 participants and 11 inflatables around the park.

“There were some large, crazy inflatables all throughout the park. I’m talking giant inflatables,” Morales explained.

Senior Programs Supervisor Jeannine Delgardio was the last staff member to update the board. She mainly focused on the Young at Heart Club program, which organizes a monthly luncheon with entertainment. The group also has a number of local social events, as well as several overnight trips to places such as St. Augustine and Gatlinburg, Tenn.

After recreation-related discussions, the board reconvened for a brief meeting to discuss its responsibilities as the oversight panel for the Village of Royal Palm Beach’s expenditures of the 1-cent sales surtax money. The board is still preparing to begin fulfilling this role in the near future.

The board, which is charged with the consideration of and planning for village recreational and playground sites, activities, plans, capital improvements, guidelines and programs, meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Monday of every month. The December meeting has been canceled.

For additional information regarding the board or recreation programs, call (561) 790-5124 or visit www.royalpalmbeach.com.