Boca Raton to unveil multi-million dollar park

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The City of Boca Raton is preparing to unveil a new multimillion-dollar park on Saturday. (WPEC)

The City of Boca Raton is preparing to unveil a new multimillion-dollar park on Saturday.

Once a city landfill, Hillsboro El Rio Park South has now been turned into a 14.68 acres multi-use park on SW 18th Street.

"I remember this as being the city dump,” USA Pickleball Association Ambassador Raul Travieso said.

Beneath the garbage, Boca Raton city leaders saw potential.

“Talk about a good way to repurpose it,” councilman Andy Thomson said.

Last year, dirt started moving on the proposed Hillsboro El Rio Park South and the city spared no expense.

“Probably one of the best parks we have in our city,” Thomson said. “Fourteen acres, it has all sorts of amenities that are going to be able to serve this entire community.”

Thomson says the $6 million dollar park is the anchor of the city’s Waterfront Masterplan. It’s the first of many projects aimed at revitalizing recreational spaces along the waterfront.

"It improves our quality of life,” he said.

Families can kayak or canoe the El Rio Canal, which is accessible through a soft launch ramp.

Parents can treat the kids it an afternoon on the more than 10,000 square-foot playground.

If you’re into fitness, walk or jog the outdoor trail.

Whether you prefer tennis, sand volleyball or basketball, there’s plenty of courts for a quick game.

Plus one new amenity that’s Travieso’s favorite.

Outdoor pickleball courts are new to Boca Raton and weren’t originally included in the park plan, according to Travieso.

But it’s popularity has taken off in Palm Beach County and four were built.

"We played pickleball mainly in other cities because they have outdoor courts," Travieso said. “We are so excited about having our first outdoor dedicated courts."

The city did do necessary remediation on the site to ensure there are no residual effects from the park being built on the site of a former landfill.

A ribbon-cutting will be held on Saturday, Feb. 22, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.