Successes from 2017 were reviewed and projects in progress for 2018 were presented at the Royal Palm Beach Recreation Advisory Board meeting on Monday, March 26.
Parks & Recreation Director Lou Recchio said that the upcoming three-day strategic planning session done annually by village staff and the Royal Palm Beach Village Council will take place April 9-11.
“This is the time of year that we get organized with our strategic plan. We go over what we have accomplished over the last year, what we are looking to do in the next year and what we would like to do in the next five years,” he said. “We will sit down with all the department heads and the village manager and go through what we would like to see.”
The following day, the manager will meet with the council, and they will get to discuss what they would like to see over the next year and five years.
“This all comes together on the third day, and things are ranked and moved around on the list and on the time frame. It’s a great system. The program works well, and it gives us a plan,” Recchio explained. “The biggest success I see this year has been coordinating the closing down of the Royal Palm Beach Cultural Center and [moving] everything over to the Recreation Center and accommodating all the programs. It has worked out very well.”
This was done to accommodate the complete renovation and expansion of the aging Cultural Center building. “The plans for the Cultural Center are going very well. I am confident that in the fall, it will be open,” Recchio said. “It may not look like it from the outside, because it is all fenced in, but it’s going very well. We are pleased with the rate they are going.”
Other Parks & Recreation Department successes over the past year include completion of construction of additional restrooms and the amphitheater at Royal Palm Beach Commons Park, and completing the construction of the northern walkway at Commons Park, which allows the village to now hold true 5K events. Recchio also noted providing another area for visitors to the park to walk or jog or ride their bikes, and improvements to the Bob Marcello Baseball Complex at Willows Park, including renovating the tennis courts and baseball field 5.
Also mentioned was the appointment of staff to act as a liaison with the Royal Palm Beach High School student body, which meets monthly at the school to establish a direct line of communication with the students to better serve the community’s teen population.
Recchio was also proud of the “Insane Inflatable 5K” at Commons Park with 1,200 participants to experience an intense, yet enjoyable, 5K obstacle challenge as family teams, corporate teams or as individuals, and establishing a new pickle ball program at the request of local seniors.
Securing a golf pro at the Commons Park Golf Training Facility, providing professional instruction to the public, was also accomplished over the past year, as was conducting the third annual Royal Palm Beach Senior Expo, which provided senior residents and their caregivers with new opportunities, valuable information and access to health screening. A core conditioning class for senior citizens was also added to the recreation lineup.
Recchio next described projects in the works for 2018, which include refurbishing Veterans Park and sealing of all the natural wood, lighting upgrades at Veterans Park, gym lighting replacement, playscape enhancements at Commons Park and Robiner Park, athletic field renovations, a playscape replacement at Penzance Park, a fence replacement at the Robiner Dog Park, waterfall repairs at Veterans Park, updating the rental fee structure at the renovated Cultural Center, improvements to the Commons Park Sporting Center, sports lighting replacement, identifying and setting up GPS coordinates for park structures and equipment, adding research computer classes for seniors, adding a Royal Palm Beach Talent Showcase to the food truck lineup of events next fall and replacing bulletin boards with TV screens at the Recreation Center.
Recchio shared a new event that is in the works for Commons Park on May 19-20. A seafood festival previously held in downtown West Palm Beach will be moving to Royal Palm Beach with the hopes in the first year of attracting 6,000 to 8,000 people.
“The application is in, and we have been talking with them,” Recchio said. “All we need is approval from the council, and we are looking forward to having it. They are excited about coming out here.”