Plans to open upgraded Wildflower/Silver Palm Parks in Boca to go before council next

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By: Diane Emeott Korzen
Contributing Writer

A beautiful new, combined park, with an artistically envisioned connecting piece under the Palmetto Park Bridge, is moving forward in the approval process.

Boca Raton’s Parks & Recreation Board unanimously approved the development of Wildflower Park and the redevelopment of Silver Palm Park, at 551 and 600 E. Palmetto Park Rd.

Total size of the two parks combined is about 6.4 acres.

The vote on a use and development within the Public Land zoning district for Wildflower & Silver Palm Parks took place at a March 3 Public Hearing held at the Downtown Library.

In this case, the City of Boca was requesting approval for plans for both sides of the park which connects under the Palmetto Park bridge.

The north side is the Wildflower Property. The south side is Silver Palm Park, with the city’s only boat launch.

“Today there is one boat ramp with two launches. What we propose is, adding an additional boat ramp,” said EDSA of Ft. Lauderdale Principal Kona Gray.

Gray continued that in the future, he recommends keeping non-motorized separate from motorized boating. For instance, Stand Up Paddleboards (SUPs) or kayaks he suggested should be launched from the steps at Silver Palm Park, while motorized jet skis could be launched from the boat ramp.

The Parks & Rec Board is recommending approval to City Council. (The City’s Development Services Dept. and the Planning & Zoning Board have also recommended approval.) As of press time, EDSA representatives are working with the City to schedule a next meeting date.

Gray presented the latest on the project with his associate Stephanie Main, and Boca Coastal Program ManagerJennifer Bistyga — showing a timeline that began with a public meeting for Conceptual Design on Nov. 20, 2018, and took the project through the current day. Final elements include selection of a contractor projected in Fall 2020 with construction following in winter.

At the end of his presentation, Gray produced a number of show-and-tells from the project,

including a sample of synthetic turf that’s padded for kids to play on; real wood for benches (plastic wood gets too hot, he said); blue and green concrete samples for the water feature; and  light blue and royal blue swatches for shade sails — which are going to be rated for up to 90 mph winds, with a quick release feature. “We always require pulling them down,” added Gray.

The landscaping plan features 144 palms + 54 trees = 198 trees for Wildflower Park; and 184 palms + 32 trees = 216 trees for Silver Palm Park; adding up to 328 palms + 86 trees — a grand total of 414 new trees. Currently, there are 360 existing trees on both sides.

Bike parking is also proposed for the new park: six bike parking spaces for Wildflower and six bike parking spaces for Silver Palm, for a total of 12. The City will monitor to determine if additional bike parking is needed.

“We are very excited to be here with you,” Gray said. “Extremely proud that that we are on the verge of building. Wonderful cities deserve wonderful waterfront parks. The community has given us tough love and we’ve responded. I have family right down the street on 5 Court. My nieces are ready to play at the new park.”