Adventure park plans moving forward
BY SUSAN BURGESS
Swooping, soaring, dipping and roaring around curves, over hills and flying through the air — sound like something you’d love to do? Well, get ready because those are the sights and sounds of the new adventure park coming your way in Port St. Lucie.
Three years after the city bought nearly 39 acres on SW Cameo Boulevard north of Crosstown Parkway, the park’s design is underway. In July, design consultants presented residents with some ideas for park features and collected their suggestions to create a draft concept.
Several concepts go to the city council at the end of September for discussion, and will be followed by another meeting with residents to gather opinions. The consultants, Stantec Consulting Services, will make design adjustments and go back to the council.
The September meeting depends on completion of a virtual tour of other comparable parks to be presented to the board requests, project manager Kelly Boatwright said.
Eric Walsh is one guy who can’t wait. A Port St. Lucie resident, he has been skateboarding for years and wants to get back to his BMX bike. He also rides a mountain bike, and says he’s interested in the knobby-tired dirt bikes. When the park opens, he plans to start off on his skateboard and BMX. BMX stands for bicycle motocross. It can be raced or used to do tricks such as spins, hops and jumps. It doesn’t have a motor.
“I never thought they’d build a park like this,” he said. “I’m probably the most excited guy in the city.”
He suggested that consultants include a medium half-pipe for skateboard enthusiasts. These look like a pipe with the top half sliced off.
Tricksters ride up and down the steep walls. Those who have watched Shaun White in the winter Olympics snowboarding competition know what a half-pipe looks like.
“I’d also like a zip line, a ropes challenge course, and rock climbing wall,” he said. “That would be great.”
Walsh is not the only one with high hopes for some of these features. At the July 9 meeting with Stantec, the top-ranked requests were: mountain biking, ropes course and zip lines, artificial wave pool, BMX/pump track and skate boarding. Other elements under consideration are rock climbing, ninja warrior courses, running and walking trails, a playground, barbecue picnic areas and food trucks.
After the design is completed, the features will be prioritized and work will be divided into two phases. The city plans to advertise for a construction company this winter. Once a contractor is chosen, work can begin. Funding for the first phase, $1.78 million, has been approved by the council. Another $2 million is proposed for the second phase in 2021-2022. Funding would come from the Parks Impact Fee Capital Improvement Projects budget.
At this point there is no date for completion of the park.
“The features look solid to me,” Walsh said after hearing the consultants describe an array of features that might be in the park. “They did a great job. It was very comprehensive.”
A park incorporating BMX features is a first for the city. There was a skateboard park in Whispering Pines Park near Darwin Boulevard, but it closed in 2011 due to lack of use.
The award-winning city parks and recreation department manages more than 40 parks and recreational facilities on 1,500 acres, and the popular Saints golf course. There are four dog parks. The city provides multiple summer camps for children, fitness classes and a host of other classes and programs including an annual talent show, dance, art, and even free eSports leagues featuring a variety of video games.
Parks feature different amenities although none are like the new adventure park. But existing parks may include boat and canoe launches, ballfields, basketball or tennis, racquetball, volleyball and pickleball courts, pavilions, fishing, a fitness station, nature trails and disc golf. An interactive map at www.cityofpsl.com/government/departments/parks-recreation/parks-map shows which parks have which amenities.
AWARD AND FUTURE PLANS
Parks and Recreation recently won an award for its innovative Rock Steady Boxing program, which helps decrease the effects of Parkinson’s disease. The 10-year master plan calls for both an adventure park and a regional park — both requested by residents.
Next up is planning for the long awaited Tradition Regional Park to serve residents of western Port St. Lucie and other areas. A neighborhood meeting hosted by Lucido & Associates, a land planning and landscape architectural firm, and Mattamy Homes to gather residents’ suggestions took place in July.
“The park is envisioned as an active regional park consisting primarily of baseball, softball, soccer and multipurpose sports fields along with other more regional-type uses such as a possible water park, bark park, food truck/art event space, disc golf and an adventure playground,” according to a meeting announcement.
“In addition to these very active uses, attention will be placed on less-active uses such as nature trails, observation areas, canoe/kayak launch, and complementary experiences that provide enjoyment and opportunities for all,” it says.