The Unsung Heroes of the Parks and Recreation Department
By Alyssa Lamp
The Parks and Recreation of Boca Raton hold their meetings every first Tuesday of the month at new locations. They hold them at different parks, golf courses, or beaches around the Boca area, and give a mini tour of the area at the beginning of the meeting, to help the community better understand the locations they are at.
The meeting then proceeds and projects they are currently working on are brought up. The Parks and Rec Board are all volunteers and their head chair is Gordon Gilbert. The board works on not just parks, but beaches, golf courses, skate parks, dog parks, and environmental areas. They also don’t just decide to clean a park, they work to help maintain our parks for athletic use and for children to play on. They also focus on helping the maintenance crew with their vine project. You can tell just by going to one meeting that this board is really dedicated to what they do, they love the parks and they really want to keep it a nice area for everyone.
The board’s discussion at the last meeting was mainly expanding the vine project. If you were to walk in the reserve in George Snow Park, you would see vines that canopy over bushes, plants, and trees. The vines will grow over the trees in order to get sunlight and that kills the trees and plants it lays over. The maintenance crew goes all the way into the bush, and a lot of times will pull vines down from the tops of tree with their hands, but if the vine’s root is close enough to the ground, they will spray the roots to try and kill it. This needs to be done once a month in order to keep it from growing back. The crew that goes out to kill these vines consists of only three men. This is a lot of work for that small of a group. They look to expand their crew in order to continue to maintain the vines, which can be seen in a lot of areas of Boca.
Building a skate park was also brought up at the meeting. They mentioned implementing the park where the Tim Huxhold Skate Park & Shuffleboard Courts is in Boca Raton. Right now the park consists of a shuffle board area and skate park, but they want to create different advanced levels for the kids. A beginners area and an area for the older/more advanced kids. They’re hoping the older kids will see the younger kids that struggle and go over and help them. The shuffleboard area is not getting as much use as it used to, so using that space for the skate park might attract more people. Problems brought up would be parking, others said parking wouldn’t be a problem since the space over by this facility is big enough already.
In order to be aware of the projects going on in Boca and get to know the area, the community needs to do their part and go to the Parks and Rec meetings. It gets the community involved and you may have an input of what goes on. For the location and times, go to the Boca Raton City Hall website and search under calendar of events.