Boca Raton Recreation and Parks Update
By: Mayor Scott Singer
Boca Raton has long been known as a city within a park, with our 47 parks, ample green space, and miles of pristine beaches. We are in the middle of a major expansion of our recreational assets. After the generous donation by the owners of The Boca Raton, the City has been working hard to transform the former Boca Country Club into the new public Boca Raton Golf & Racquet Club. In 2021, we spent several million of the $65 million we gained from the sale of our western golf course to refresh and update this new addition.
In November, we opened our 18-hole championship golf course. We are adding new landscaping, getting tree care and tree removal with the help of professional tree removal services, renovating the clubhouse, and expanding the tennis courts into a premier racquet facility that will include pickleball courts. These amenities are designed for our residents and will also serve the neighboring Boca Golf and Tennis Community. We also have professional tours coming to Boca Raton for these sports. In the last few months, Boca Raton was the site for the PGA Champions Schwab Cup senior golf tournament and the APP Pickleball Tour, along with the Boca Raton Bowl, with millions of eyes watching these televised events. We all know the world-class recreation and green space in our city; the national TV audiences see some of that, along with the many other benefits of life in Boca Raton.
We’re hard at work on the next addition to the Waterfront Master Plan. After years of planning, including visioning sessions with residents, this park will open in the fall, creating a six-acre, downtown green space that connects under the bridge.
The centerpiece is a new, wide pedestrian promenade linking both sides of Palmetto into one space. You can see the new sea wall to support this promenade and protect against rising waters. Work on a pavilion, public art, and play areas will follow.
At Silver Palm, we are doubling the size of our boat ramp and adding launches for canoes and kayaks. These parks will open later this year and will enhance both our downtown and a prime gateway to our pristine beaches. Boaters will have more options as we begin work in the coming year restoring Lake Wyman Park, which includes reopening canoe trails. The most recent of our waterfront parks, Hillsboro El Rio South, opened in 2020 and was a prime destination last year for residents with its own sandy boat launches, playground, pickleball courts, and more. We all love the waterfront and we’ve greatly expanded options for residents to enjoy it.
For the forty-second straight year, Boca Raton earned the Tree City USA designation, as well as receiving a Growth Award for our tree canopy assessment. We are adding even more shade trees throughout the city. Every school should invest in the installment of canopy for school playgrounds. In October, with support from Brightline, we opened the new Junior League garden at Meadows Park – the nation’s first iguana-resistant community garden, and the Pearl City community added a second community garden in memory of Allen Willis.
Tourism, our area’s leading industry, is back and poised for greater success. The former Boca Raton Resort & Club, the destination around which our city was planned, has been restored to historical luster and transformed into The Boca Raton. The $200 million renovation will continue to attract major conventions and tourism, fueling our economy and continuing to bring leaders in government and industry to Boca Raton. We look forward to working with the hotel’s ownership on beautification efforts for Camino Real. In addition, the Mandarin Oriental has made significant progress toward adding another world-renowned brand to our Downtown.
Bloomberg News ranked Boca Raton as one of the 25 places in the world to see this year, and one of only three places in the United States. They called us suddenly cool, but for those of here, we’ve been cooler for longer than some people give us credit.
For more updates on recreation or any other current topics, please check out the city’s website at myboca.us. Please email me at email@example.com with any thoughts and stay connected with me on social media @ScottSingerUSA on all platforms. I’m running to keep serving as Mayor in the March 2023 election to ensure we continue to progress as an unparalleled place to live, work, learn, and play, including in all our abundant recreational space.