Boca Raton’s Swim And Racquet Center Poised For A Make Over

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By: Marisa Gottesman Associate Editor

The Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District is planning upgrading the space with a new facility and amenities that have a Mediterranean-style vibe.

Changes to the pool and tennis facility located at 21618 St. Andrews Blvd. include multi-purpose rooms, lockers and restrooms that are handicap-accessible, family changing rooms, more parking, additional pavilions and a splash pad for children. The community center is proposed to be 5,500 square feet.

Part of the plan includes the district relocating its offices to the new location from Sugar Sand Park Community. Officials say the move will provide more public space at Sugar Sand Park.

The district has set aside nearly $3 million to spend on improving the site, which it purchased in 2000 for $3.75 million from a private developer.

During construction, the pool will be closed for about six months while the electrical system across the entire facility is replaced. The tennis court will remain open and no changes are planned for the courts.

District officials said the goal is to begin renovations early fall and have then completed in nine months.

The plans are scheduled to go before the city next. First the planning and zoning board will see the plans in May followed by the City Council in June.

While modifications are in the works, not all city officials are pleased with the district’s officials. The two groups have had difficulty coming to an agreement on how to handle the city’s parks.

Deputy Mayor Robert Weinroth attended a recent district meeting to express his frustration that the groups have had a tough time getting on the same page.

The feud has delayed some projects, which end up costing residents money in the long run if they wind up unresolved. Stalled or delayed projects include the reconstruction of the boardwalk at Red Reef Park and building of Spanish River Athletic Facilities at Countess DeHoernle Park.

The boards were scheduled to meet in December, but the meeting was postponed without a new date proposed.

The groups are working together when it comes to trying to buy private beachfront properties to preserve for a park.

It is some of the most sought-after property in Boca Raton and the city would like to keep as many beachfront views as possible to itself.

Commissioners of the Greater Boca Raton and Park District agreed to move forward with a plan that would ask several property owners if they would be willing to sell their beachfront property to the city.

An early proposal shows the properties becoming a public park equipped with a parking lot and a tunnel under North Ocean Boulevard that would provide better beach access. The park would continue off of the existing Ocean Strand Park.

City staff will contact six property owners on the east side of State Road A1A between East Palmetto Park Road and Spanish River Boulevard to see if they would be willing to sell their properties.

The properties that could become a park are located at 2330 N. Ocean Blvd., 2401 N. Ocean Blvd., 2500 N. Ocean Blvd. and 2519 N. Ocean Blvd. Additional lots pointed out as options are located just north of 2500 N. Ocean Blvd. and between 2330 N. Ocean Blvd, and 2401 N. Ocean Blvd.

City officials want to preserve the area from becoming developed. Several property owners say they have plans to build homes on their land.