Excitement filled the air on the morning of Saturday, March 19 as hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the grand reopening of Palm Beach County’s Westgate Park and Recreation Center playground, an added fitness zone, and additions to an outdoor garden.
The event began at 10:00 a.m. with a bike rodeo for kids and families to enjoy, in celebration of Florida Bike Month. Children received bike inspections and bike safety presentations courtesy of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and showed off their skills by winding their way around a bicycle obstacle course; PBSO gave away 120 helmets this year, up from 35 last year. Jack the Bike Man was welcomed to the event, a local community member who restores bikes for donation. This year, he gave away bikes to four lucky kids in the community.
To further promote healthy living for the Westgate community, free health screenings were also available to all 200 participants during the event, courtesy of FAU Health Services.
At 11:00 a.m., the excitement continued with a ribbon-cutting ceremony which included County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor, other Palm Beach County officials, and Westgate residents to celebrate the recent upgrades.
The playground, which reopened after a 4-month installation process, features areas for kids ages 2-5 and 5-12. The new playground allows for increased safety – it’s lined with playground grass and engineered mulch, and is accessible for all abilities. The tot swings and belt swings are suitable for both younger and older kids, and the Omnispin for kids ages 2-12 accommodates all physical capabilities.
While kids are playing, adults can enjoy a new 10-piece fitness zone with a view of the playground to keep an eye on their little ones. Designed to look like equipment that can be found in a professional health club, the exercise equipment allows for adults to keep healthy at no cost, regardless of shape, size or fitness level. The equipment is available every day from sunrise to sunset.
Lee Powell, Manager of Westgate Park and Recreation Center, said parents and kids are thrilled about all the new additions. “It provides a multi-faceted family environment… now they can come as a family and really truly enjoy the playground, the splashpark, and the fitness zone,” explained Powell.
Also included in the new upgrades is the outdoor garden, which was expanded to include a U-shaped permanent concrete planter accessible from all sides. Right now, teens and seniors from the Westgate community are tending to the thriving garden, planting tomatoes, beans and other vegetables, and the facility hopes to receive more participation with the garden from community members.
“The improvements at Westgate Park and Recreation Center provide opportunities for families to play, learn and grown healthy and happy together,” said Priscilla Taylor, Palm Beach County District 7 Commissioner.
This event was one of many being held in celebration of Florida Bicycle Month, a month dedicated to encouraging bike safety and to increase commuting via bicycling, carpooling, and other means of transportation to cut down on emissions.
Westgate Park and Recreation Center is operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department and is located at 3691 Oswego Avenue in West Palm Beach. Providing for youth enrichment, sports and athletic programming and facilities is one of the department’s core services. For more opportunities for healthy, happy living, visit www.pbcparks.com.