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Community Parks

Congress Avenue Barrier Free Park, Ezell Hester, Jr. Community Park, Wilson Park

 

child playing in water spray-ground
Congress Avenue Barrier Free Park
3111 S. Congress Avenue

General Information

Acreage:  37.76
Park Hours:  Sunrise – Sunset; lighted facilities open until 9:00 p.m.

Amenities

At the park: fitness trail, pavilion, picnic tables with umbrellas, benches, drinking fountain, open play area, specialty play structures for different age groups and all abilities, spray-ground, accessible restrooms/family restroom.
At the Tennis Center:  17 Har Tru and 4 composite tennis courts, restrooms with shower, drinking fountains, canopied areas with picnic tables. 

Historical Information
This is the location of the City's barrier free playground, park and Tennis Center. Three separate sections of land were acquired over a period of time and the City eventually had 30 acres of property. The property was given to the City before 1979, prior to there being any requirements for land dedication from developers. Five acres were given to WXEL as the public television station grew.

The Tennis Center was built in three phases. There are 17 Har-Tru and four composite courts. Adjacent to the tennis courts and the Pro Shop are canopy areas with tables and chairs. The west side of the property backs up to a lake and in the center of the property is a small pond. There are wetlands on the property planted with native vegetation.

Realizing the need for a barrier-free park in Palm Beach County where over 187,000 disabled residents reside, in 2005 representatives of agencies that offer services for special needs individuals, including the United Way, United Cerebral Palsy, Lions Club, American Red Cross, The ARC and Deaf Service Center were invited to participate in a design charette to determine the elements needed in a “barrier-free” park. The design charette helped to create the master plan for this very unique and special park. Construction of the first phase of the 13.5 acre Congress Avenue Barrier Free Park began in 2010. The park is designed to accommodate people of all ages and abilities on an equal level.

The park is themed around a Florida Swamp. The central public space was designed to allow access to three play areas, two of which have been constructed, and the third will be constructed during a future phase of development. One is a free formed play structure that resembles a spider.  It emulates the insect critters of the swamp. The other is a fish camp theme. The two ponds on the park are connected through a metaphorical “stream bed” that allows children and adults to climb through and experience rocks, spray misters, water and nature. Trails meander through the park leading to the different play and sensory experiences.

Other park features include restored wetlands, picnic areas, and restrooms. Ultimately, the purpose of the park is to create an exciting, inspiring and accessible passive park and playground for adults and children of all ages and abilities to enjoy.

children climbing on playground equipmentEzell Hester Jr. Community Park
1901 N. Seacrest Boulevard (back to top)
 
General Information
Acreage:  23.72 (includes 8 acres of Rolling Green Scrub)
Park Hours:  Sunrise – Sunset (lighted facilities open until 10:00 p.m.)
 
Amenities
Baseball/softball field, basketball courts, benches, bike rack, concession building (hours vary), cricket pitch, drinking fountain, fitness trail (1/2-mile path with no exercise stations; around football field), football field, gazebo, gymnasium, meeting space, nature preserve, open play area, recreation center, rental pavilions, playground, racquetball court, restrooms, tennis courts
 
Historical Information
The facility and park opened in 1992. Various phases of development and expansion have occurred since. The center is named after former Vice-Mayor Ezell Hester, Jr.
 
Half or more of the 23-acre site the park and recreation center sits on was once one of the largest remainders of native Florida scrub land in Palm Beach County (in 1988). As a part of the construction, scrub preserve fencing was placed around the Rolling Green Scrub.
 
The property was owned by a developer who was developing property on Congress Avenue. The developer was not interested in developing the property so to satisfy land dedication requirements the land was given to the City. Rolling Green Park (not to be confused with Rolling Green Elementary School) was the original park name before the community center was built. In planning the park, the City was required to preserve about 25% of the total acreage as scrub land (Rolling Green Scrub).
 
The press box was built adjacent to the football field in 2003 and is dedicated to former Recreation and Parks Department employee Tom Williams. A new playground was built in 2006. In the summer of 2009 the football field was dedicated to longtime PAL (Police Athletic League) officer Bill Tome.  

entrance to Wilson Park and Sims CenterWilson Park
225 NW 12 Avenue (back to top)
 
General Information
Acreage:  5.44
Park Hours:  Sunrise – 9:00 p.m.

Amenities

Basketball courts, benches, bike rack, drinking fountain, meeting space, open play area, pavilions, playground, pool, recreation building, restrooms, multi-purpose field
 
Historical Information
The original facility was built in 1961. Mr. Wilson, an advocate for recreation and parks, went to the City Commission with a request to build a center and pool in the northeast neighborhood of Boynton Beach. The ball field hosted the Boynton Beach Red Sox. In spite of the fact that the field was undersized, it  was used often until the early 1990's. 
 
In 1982, Palm Beach County contributed $32,274 for Wilson Park improvements, which included adding a basketball court, additional fencing around the ball fields, and security lighting.
 
In 2003, county voters approved a $50M Recreation and Cultural Facilities Bond and Palm Beach County designated $1,000,000 for renovation of the Wilson Park area.  The project included the construction of a new center, renovations and improvements to the community pool, basketball courts, a multi-purpose field and a playground with updated play equipment.
 
The Grand Opening of the Carolyn Sims Community Center and John Denson Pool at Wilson Park was held on February 9, 2008, with a special sky jump by the US Special Ops Command Parachute Team.

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