Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Once restored, Lake Wyman Park in Boca Raton will be a 'very, very popular 
destination,' Boca Raton mayor says

New boat ramps, restored canoe trails part of Boca Raton parks' revival

Boca Raton plans to add two boat ramps, a kayak launch site, a restroom and 38 parking spots to Lake Wyman and James A. Rutherford parks.       (City of Boca Raton/Courtesy)

The new plan put forth Tuesday excludes those elements. The city is instead investigating a coastal hammock with walking trails and picnic tables at Lake Wyman Park.

Visitors to two Boca Raton parks should expect to enjoy two new boat ramps, repaired boardwalks and restored canoe trails in the coming years, city officials decided Tuesday.

City Council members are putting into action a three-year plan to revitalize Lake Wyman Park, located at 1500 NE Fifth Ave., and the adjacent James A. Rutherford Park.

Canoe trails that run through the parks have been closed for more than a decade and the parks' boardwalks have been cordoned off over time as the pathway deteriorates. The plan calls for reviving those amenities as well as adding two boat ramps (accommodating two boats each), at least one kayak launch site, a restroom and 38 parking spots.

The boat ramps and parking area will take up about 2.4 acres toward the middle of Rutherford Park and cost about $1.5 million. It means replacing about .09 acres of seagrass and .31 acres of mangroves, the city's coastal program manager Jennifer Bistyga said.

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The city expects the state to cover about 50 percent of the cost of the boat ramps. By using state money to build the ramps, the city agrees the ramps will be open not just to Boca residents, but also to everyone from the public, Bistyga said.

The additional ramps will relieve the high demand on the city's sole boat ramp, which is 1.5 miles south of Lake Wyman Park at Silver Palm Park along the Intracoastal Waterway.

To centralize the boat ramps at Rutherford Park and still preserve the continuity of the canoe trails, the city plans to build a two-way bridge big enough to fit vehicles with boat trailers and a sidewalk. Adding the bridge will cost close to $1 million, she said.

Five years ago neighboring residents shot down plans to revive Lake Wyman Park. The plan broached in 2011 called for a seagrass habitat for manatees and floating day docks. Nearby residents complained the changes would attract more mosquitoes and the day docks would mean less privacy for their homes.

Council members say they believe the new approach will please the public.

"We've eliminated what seemed to be the biggest cause for concern five years ago," Councilman Scott Singer said.

emiller@sunsentinel.com, 561-243-6531, Twitter @EmilyBethMiller or visit our 'Sun Sentinel: Boca Raton' community page at SunSentinel.com/facebookboca

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