With several existing projects just finished or nearing completion, Royal Palm Beach residents can expect several new improvements in the planning and development stages during 2019, village officials told the Town-Crier this week.
While the newly renovated and expanded Royal Palm Beach Cultural Center has just opened, Village Manager Ray Liggins is already looking forward to the community’s next major upgrades.
“The two new things that are going to have an impact on residents in the village for years into the future are the plans for the remodel and expansion of the recreation center and potentially village hall,” Liggins said.
These projects will be a major point of discussion for the Royal Palm Beach Village Council this year.
“The architect is putting together some ideas, adding more space for offices and rental space, showing where we can expand,” Liggins added. “These will be presented to the council at a planning session in April. Following that, based on estimates and budget, we’ll go down the path of having some public input meetings on it.”
Mayor Fred Pinto agreed that these major initiatives will be discussed and decided over the coming year, hopefully with plenty of public input.
He said that he is looking forward to discussing the future of the Royal Palm Beach Recreation Center in April.
These large projects are just in the beginning stages.
“There’s no money in the budget for it yet,” Liggins stressed. “What’s new is the concept of adding to and remodeling both facilities. They are very significant projects… Money-wise, these are probably our two biggest projects going forward, and the planning starts this year.”
Liggins also noted that the village has a continuing goal of keeping services up and taxes down. “We have our goal to balance the budget with no tax increase,” he said.
In other projects, the council will be having a communication strategy meeting soon, with the village’s web site and electronic plan review process being updated and enhanced.
“Some of the other things that we put a lot of effort into and will continue to put effort into in 2019 is to work toward making our four major community events, all held at Commons Park, even better than they are,” Liggins said.
These are the Seafood Fest/West Fest event held in the spring, the Fourth of July celebration, the Fall Fest in October and the Winterfest holiday event in December.
“We are always looking to make those events significant and appealing to our residents,” Liggins said.
Pinto said that the village will be “tweaking” the events to further improve them and make them even more successful.
“Winterfest was really successful,” he noted. “It was one of the best turnouts ever.”
In terms of services available to residents, Pinto said that he is looking forward to the village’s first assisted living memory care facility, now undergoing construction, to come online this year.
On the more mundane side of things, the village will continue working on much-needed road improvements, with road resurfacing work planned north of Okeechobee Blvd.
Pinto said that the recent Crestwood work had been completed, and that he thinks the residents are satisfied with the road. “It wasn’t fun while it was happening, but they are happy with it now,” he said.
Liggins added that the work is finishing up on phase two of the village’s RV parking lot off of Lamstein Lane. “It is adding 150 spaces,” he said.
Modifying the banquet room at the Commons Park Sporting Center with some permanent glass windows to replace the roll up plastic windows is a project that will be completed this year.
“The windows that we currently have will be replaced,” Liggins said. “The floor space is not changing, but [the permanent windows] makes it a more convenient space to use and gives a little bit more flexibility and ability to use the space in the afternoon and in the summer, which was challenging in the past.”
Several projects on the horizon are outside of village control, such as the Tuttle Royale project along the south side of Southern Blvd.
“There will be changes people will see on Southern,” Liggins said. “The large [multi-use] project behind Lowe’s and Southern Blvd. has phase one approved.”
The second phase has had a first reading, but before the second reading, the developer must secure approval from the state. “Phase two will be coming to the council sometime in the near future,” Liggins said. “What that will look like will be determined in 2019.”
Another potential issue is the future of the Village Golf Club, where a developer has proposed homes on part of the golf course.
“It is not owned by the village, that’s just the name of it,” Liggins said. “The owners of that property have been talking with some builders about doing something different there. Potential purchasers have met with property owners, and they started the public conversations, but it hasn’t been put in our hands yet. However, that may come to us in 2019. That’ll be something that residents want to pay attention to. If the property owners continue with that initiative, there may be a major conversation on that.”
Pinto stressed that no changes have been approved to the golf course. “The golf course proposal is something that will be discussed if it comes before the council, but nothing is official at this point,” he said.
Both the mayor and the village manager encouraged resident feedback on all upcoming plans.
“The sooner people start thinking about [these planned projects] and participating in the public meetings where we gather input, the better our village will be,” Liggins said.