The Village of Royal Palm Beach is planning a new park to be built along the M-1 Canal, adjacent to the Lennar’s new BellaSera neighborhood. The park will be along Crestwood Blvd. North, across the canal from H.L. Johnson Elementary School.
The village is actively seeking input from all residents through January, and a public input meeting was held at the Royal Palm Beach Recreation Center on Tuesday, Jan. 21 to solicit comments and feedback on the new five-acre facility, tentatively named Crestwood North Park.
Royal Palm Beach Parks & Recreation Director Lou Recchio explained that the village is pursuing a $400,000 recreation grant through the Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The LWCF is a federal program that provides grants for acquisition or development of land for public outdoor recreation.
The competitive grant program promotes and fosters partnerships to enhance and sustain Florida’s natural and cultural resources, and to provide increased outdoor recreational opportunities for Florida’s citizens and visitors.
The park sits on five acres of M-1 Canal waterfront that the developers of BellaSera were required to set aside for a village park that will be open to the public. Recchio explained that the village is formally required to get input from residents before applying for the $400,000 grant, which the village would be required to match. Recchio estimated that the entire project, including design work in 2021 and construction in 2022, would cost about $1 million.
Madison Green resident Joanne Diasio came out to the meeting to ask the village to place an emphasis on boating, kayaking and fishing.
“I’d like to see the entire waterfront to be one long covered boardwalk where people have plenty of room to intermingle and fish,” she said. “This park will make a great place for parents to take their kids fishing and just hang out.”
Recchio noted that Royal Palm Beach puts an emphasis on water uses at its parks.
“I am not sure how many people notice this, but the village likes to place parks, whenever possible, on our canal system, where it’s possible for the public to travel park to park via boat, kayak or canoe,” he said, pointing out that Todd A. Robiner Park, Earth Day Park, the H.L. Johnson Nature Trail and Lakeside Challenger Park are connected by water.
Crestwood Park North represents the 20th park to be built within the Village of Royal Palm Beach.
“As a tree city, I can tell you that this park will be beautifully landscaped with lots of trees,” Recchio said.
Preliminary plans call for three docks, sand volleyball, unlit basketball courts, a tot lot and a multi-purpose field. “The multipurpose field has been popular and well used at Todd A. Robiner Park in La Mancha,” Recchio said. “This will be similar.”
BellaSera, including the five acres set aside for the new village park, is the former site of a municipal wastewater treatment plant that the village owned. It became surplus property when the village contracted with Palm Beach County for water and wastewater services more than a decade ago.
An early plan for the site suggested using the land for a commercial business/research park, which drew widespread opposition from nearby residents. The Royal Palm Beach Village Council eventually voted to allow only residential use at the site, and Lennar Homes won a competitive bid to develop the property.
As a condition of plat approval, Lennar agreed to dedicate waterfront land for a future public park.
The future village park will be located at the southeast corner of the property near the present Lennar Welcome Center.
Recchio emphasized that the village is seeking general input now, in conjunction with its LWCF grant and that details on the eventual park design won’t be finalized until next year.
Residents with ideas to incorporate into the park’s planning can contact the Royal Palm Beach Parks & Recreation Department at (561) 790-5124.