Hillsboro El Rio Park – Boca Raton
Boca Raton, the community that calls itself “A City within a Park,” just added its 47th recreation area to the roster of play sites within its borders.
The following Boca Times and Boca Tribune articleswere sources for the infomative post: One was posted pre Covid-19; the park has re-opened and people are again starting to enjoy one of the newest parks in the Boca Raton area.
On a cool morning that ping-ponged between showers and sunshine, a couple of hundred people made their way to opening ceremonies of the Hillsboro El Rio Park South, just across from Hillsboro El Rio North, a 12.5-acre facility which opened in 2002. Basically, the two fun sites are separated by SW 18th Street – and a lot of years.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony Feb. 22 bought together a bunch of current and past officials, including Mayor Scott Singer, Deputy Mayor Jeremy Rodgers, City Council members Monica Mayotte, Andrea O’Rourke and Andy Thompson along with former Mayors Steven Abrams and Susan Whelchel and former deputy mayor and current Palm Beach County Commissioner Robert Weinroth.
Singer broke out to post a minute-long declaration on Facebook, announcing “the long-awaited playground,” a 10,000-square-foot location with a walking/jogging path, fitness station, playground, dedicated pickleball court, tennis courts, picnic pavilion, a soft launch area for canoes, kayaks and paddle boats into the El Rio Canal, along with parking and restroom facilities.
“For the many residents who have advocated for two decades for a park in the southeastern portion of Boca Raton, scattered showers couldn’t dampen their excitement at today’s official opening,” said Commissioner Weinroth.
Once home to the city’s landfill as far back as the 1960s, the area has recently seen infrastructure improvements, including a water main replacement along 18th Street followed by repaving of that road and upgrades to the railroad tracks that include quiet zone features to accommodate the new Brightline/VirginUSA trains.
City spokeswoman Anne Marie Connolly said the dedication included remarks from Recreation Services Director Michael Kalvort and the chairman of Parks and Recreation Board, Dr. Dennis Frisch. Then came the dedication of the Joe Good playground, named in honor of the late Parks & Rec. Board member who served for some 30 years. His family was there for the dedication.
“For the rest of the day, families met and chatted with city staff, enjoyed a nice walk around the new park, saw pickleball demonstrations and enjoyed all the park amenities,” said Connolly. “Special events also included bounce houses, face painting and food trucks.”
Following the ceremony, community events for residents took place, among them, pickleball demonstrations and children’s activities.
Development of Hillsboro El Rio Park South officially started in February 2019 after a renewed commitment was made to enhance activities at the City’s waterfront park sites.
Located on the south side of SW 18th St between Dixie Hwy and the El Rio Canal, the 14-acre site is the newest city park. The project cost approximately $7.8 million.
The revitalized park features the following:
- Walking, jogging path with a fitness station
- Basketball court
- Pickeball courts
- Sand volleyball court
- Tennis courts
- Picnic pavilions
- A soft launch area for canoes, kayaks and paddle boards into the El Rio Canal
- Parking and restroom facilities
Hillsboro El Rio Park North includes athletic fields and was opened to the public in 2002. Fire Station 8, which is situated on the NE section of the city-owned parcel, was dedicated in 2005.
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