Rec Board Gets Update On Wellington’s Parks Master Plan

Amid some technical glitches, a virtual meeting of the Wellington Parks & Recreation Advisory Board held via Zoom on Monday, June 22 featured a comprehensive, mid-point update on the village’s Parks Master Plan.

Consultant Joseph Webb, who has been contracted by the village to research and develop a plan that will guide park efforts for the next 10 to 20 years, presented an in-depth PowerPoint presentation.

“I have no precedent for developing a plan during conditions we face [today],” Webb said.

He explained that the completed plan will define present and future parks and recreational needs for Wellington. He added that the update was to provide a needs and priority assessment while reviewing the findings of existing conditions.

“My life is parks and recreation, and the current situation isn’t broken,” Webb said. “What the Village of Wellington does, it does very well… The challenge is to continue to be great with the changing lifestyle needs and demographics.”

The largest two population segments in Wellington is the group of 40 to 59-year-olds at some 31 percent and those under 18, which is right at 30 percent.

The evaluation and analysis so far shows that local youth plan to leave the village to attend college and start a career, but return to Wellington to raise a family. The adult group transitions into active seniors with the key word being “active,” and some programs for this group are currently being enacted with social distancing.

With the use of parks changing due to the current pandemic, Webb said it is interesting to point out that the modern parks and recreation concept was started in New York City as a response to a previous epidemic some 100 years ago.

The most popular facility in Wellington is the Wellington Amphitheater. “It is a gem in the community,” Webb said.

It is followed by the many walking paths and the large community parks, although research revealed that many residents would like such facilities closer to their homes.

Peer communities with excellent programs, such as Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter and Weston, often spend more per capita than Wellington, so the village is running an efficient, tight ship. The community spends almost exactly the average of peer cities, and slightly above the median. “You are better than 95 percent of other communities nationwide,” Webb said.

He continued that a challenge is to learn what the village can do to have premier facilities in the future regarding health and wellness, conservation and social equity. “Really great parks are truly transformative,” he said.

The next step is to develop a long-range vision. The board will receive copies of the report to digest the information. A workshop with the public will be planned in the fall with the objective of having the completed plan by December.

In other business, Dr. Samuel Falzone was named as chair and Anthony Forgione as vice chair. Stephen Levin, Marc Coleman and Neil Brooks were selected to be on the Background Check Sub-Committee, with Stephanie Cagnet Myron and Anthony Forgione as alternates.

Additionally, the sales surtax report for the current fiscal year through April 30 showed $2.1 million collected and $4 million so far to date. The Parks & Recreation Advisory Board serves as the oversight committee for collections and use of the funds to assure actions are in compliance with the purpose of the surtax.