Downtown Worthing Park Gets Restaurant-Friendly Makeover

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by Paula Detwiller Special To The Pineapple Construction fences surrounding Worthing Park at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and SE 2nd Avenue have been taken down, revealing a fresh new look that officials hope will lure pedestrians, diners, and those seeking a bit of shade. “I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised with the redesign of the park,” said City Engineer Randal Krejcarek. Wide paver walkways have been added, along with landscaping, lighting, and seating areas. Newly planted trees complement the two existing banyan trees. And more space has been built for outdoor dining along the park’s southern edge. A public art piece on loan from the nearv y DeBilzan Gallery will occupy a large oval in the middle of the park. It is scheduled to be unveiled at the park’s official reopening ceremony on December 22. Worthing Park has long provided a patch of urban green space along busy Atlantic Avenue. Over time, developers persuaded the

City that the park could be improved to create more direct pedestrian connections between Atlantic Avenue and ground-level commercial tenants of the adjacent Worthing Place residential development. Krejcarek said one of the goals of the improvement project was to make the park more inviting for people to stroll through. The $275,000 project cost was borne by the City, the Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), and Worthing Place developers. Two new restaurants will eventually open onto the park: the Park Tavern, due to launch in January, and a steak-and-sushi eatery slated to open in 2012. Worthing Park was named for 1960s- era city clerk and tax assessor Robert Worthing. It’s the former home of Delray’s popular Saturday morning GreenMarket (now operating on SE 4th Avenue), and was once the site of the Casa Del Rey hotel, built by Delray pioneer Henry Sterling. The hotel later changed hands and became the Bon Air Hotel, which was torn down in the 1960s.