After years of discussion and delay, Acreage Community Park’s southern expansion is almost complete — with its crowning glory being a new community amphitheater.
Right now, the big holdup is waiting for Florida Power & Light to hook up the electricity, according to Indian Trail Improvement District President Betty Argue, who took on management of park construction shortly after she was elected to the board in 2016.
“The electrical work has pretty much been done throughout the whole site except for the amphitheater area because of the construction going on there, so they haven’t done that portion yet,” Argue told the Town-Crier on Tuesday.
At this point, there are a series of small things still to be done.
“The contractor wants to get into the site and finish everything else off all at one time, so the holdup on doing that is FPL, because we’ve been trying to get the transformer in place for well over a year now,” Argue explained.
She said the conduit is in place for an FPL subcontractor to run underground wiring from the pole to the transformer pad, but she has not been able to get a firm date when the transformer will be installed.
“I think it’s scheduled for FPL to come out and put the actual wiring in the conduit this week, and then I don’t know how long it’s going to take for the transformer to come,” she said. “After all that we’ve been through, it should happen fairly quickly at this point, but with the way that this project has gone, I make no assumptions.”
Argue noted that the project has been beset by one delay after another.
“Just when you think you’re home free… something else happens,” she said. “It’s all in there, it’s all in the ground, but now they’ve got to hook the transformer up to the electrical building, and then all of the lines have been run so everything throughout the park can be hooked up.”
Argue said the amphitheater, which was added as an amendment to the original site plan, is the most visible aspect of the park, which has new parking, lights, two bathrooms, a concession stand, a storage room, irrigation, pedestrian and equestrian paths, the Garden of Hope, a running track and a multipurpose field.
“We’re really excited about the amphitheater,” Argue said. “I think it’s the greatest amendment that we made. The amphitheater was not supposed to be in this phase. We made some amendments to the contract right after I got on the board adding the amphitheater, and I feel very strongly that this is something that will have added value for our community.”
Argue said she was not terribly impressed by the original phase one park plans, which did not have much vertical construction until the amphitheater was added. The park has held numerous concerts sponsored by the Acreage Landowners’ Association, and other activities there, but it was all done with temporary equipment.
“It seemed like there was no value for our dollar in what we were spending, so I think the community will really feel that this is a huge benefit,” she said. “We can have concerts there. The ALA did that, but this will enable anyone to be able to use it for whatever their needs are.”
Argue said another obstacle they face is getting an amendment for work on 140th Avenue North to have it constructed to ITID rather than county standards, which are much more expensive.
“There is no way that we can have 140th redone at the same time as the park,” Argue said. “The board agreed to do an amendment that would request that it doesn’t have to be tied to this phase. County standards add a significant amount into the cost, so what we’re requesting is that it be done to ITID standards.”
Argue said the county standard was put in the original site plan when 140th Avenue was on the county thoroughfare map.
“It’s not a county road, it’s an ITID road. It has been taken off the thoroughfare map, and there is no reason that the road has to be done to county standards, so we’ve requested that amendment,” Argue said. “We’ve requested the delay so that it doesn’t need to be tied to opening the park on this phase of construction.”
That request will go before the Palm Beach County Zoning Commission on Oct. 4 and the Palm Beach County Commission on Oct. 25.
The park expansion was scheduled for significant completion on Aug. 27. That, however, was based on FPL having the transformer installed, which has been delayed. Another amendment request is that individual pieces of the project do not have to go through the amendment process.
“Provided that amendment does go through, I think we will be in good shape to open up the park once [the amendment] is approved,” Argue said. “If it is not approved, then we will not be able to open up the park until the road is done, which is going to take some time.”
The cost to redo 140th Avenue North to county standards would be about $2.1 million, which includes realignment of the road.
“If we do it to ITID standards, it won’t cost as much, although we do have to do the realignment, [and] we have to focus on some drainage issues along there when we do the realignment,” Argue said, adding that work also needs to be done on Tangerine Blvd. and 61st Street North from Avocado Blvd. to 140th Avenue North.
“61st Street is close to one of the entrances to the park, but that road also gets hammered with the fire station being at the corner of Avocado and 61st, and also with our administrative office and the traffic that goes between the administrative office and the maintenance building,” Argue said.