City of Boca and Beach & Park District at odds, again

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By: Marisa Gottesman Associate Editor
Fields at one Boca Raton park will be replaced soon, but they aren’t the fields that residents expected to be spruced up.
The Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District will spend $6.5 million, which was reserved for fields at Countess de Hoernle Park, to upgrade Patch Reef Park in early 2017.
Replacing the fields at Countess de Hoernle Park, 1000 Spanish River Blvd., have been in the works since 2012.
The first delay on the project came when the city and the district couldn’t agree on what type of fields should be installed, grass or artificial.
A compromise was proposed last year, but an official agreement was never signed off on. The city and district have been at odds over which the responsibilities each group has over Boca’s parks.
The city council has made repairing the relationship between the city and district a priority this year.
The once proposed agreement would have grass fields at de Hoernle Park and Patch Reef Park, 2000 Yamato Road, would receive three artificial-turf fields.
Without an agreement, the plans have been stalled. The city must approve any changes to de Hoernle Park because the city owns the property. The district owns Patch Reef Park, so it doesn’t need city approval to move forward on plans.
The new turf fields will cost $3 million and the $6.5 million slated to go to de Hoernle park will pay for renovations to the community center and to relocate the maintenance area. District officials say they want to move the maintenance area because employees take up most of the parking lot because it is located at the front of the park.
The district did allocate $500,000 for de Hoernle Park improvements if the city and district can agree on a plan.