With an eye toward getting residents out of their cars and out of traffic during the congestion of major events held at Royal Palm Beach Commons Park, the Royal Palm Beach Village Council is expected to take up the matter later this month of purchasing a nearby property to improve access to the popular facility.
Placing a high priority on improving access to Commons Park for pedestrians, bicyclists and even boats, the property at 180 Sandpiper Ave. was identified at Royal Palm Beach’s 2019 strategic planning session and budget workshop as one to purchase to potentially remove hundreds of cars during events by providing alternative transportation options.
“We have a signed contract with the owner, and we are expecting it will pass at the Dec. 19 meeting,” Village Manager Ray Liggins told the Town-Crier. “It was pulled from the Nov. 21 meeting because of a technical issue with advertising — the notification only gave six days and the regulations require seven.”
He believes that the property is important for its future use to the village.
“Our objectives are two-fold,” Liggins explained. “We want to get the land for expanded future public use, and we want to demolish the house. For now, there will just be a flat, grassy area. The council has directed me to identify pieces of property to provide public access, and this will be one.”
However, it will not see immediate use in that regard.
“The property will need a fairly expensive bridge to make it pedestrian and bicycle accessible, and we will seek a grant in the future to pay for building that,” Liggins said. “There are 13 miles of canals that are navigable in the village with about 1,000 houses that could feasibly go by boat to the park for a trip.”
One of the reasons the property is attractive to Royal Palm Beach is that there are some 4,000 homes within approximately a mile of this potential new access point. These homes now have up to a four-mile car ride to the park.
The staff presentation for the council recommends a purchase price of $320,000, along with reasonable closing costs. Even with a deduction for the condition of the dwelling, this is $67,000 above the appraised value in comparison to other recent sales. However, that does not take into account the home’s unique value to the village, and the value of getting cars off the road during major events held at the park.
Since the appraisal is less than the purchase price, a supermajority vote by the Royal Palm Beach Village Council will be required for approval.