As we emerge from COVID-19, our Wilton Manors parks and recreational services are beginning to thrive once again.
Our small city has a lot to offer from tennis and pickleball courts, spaces for your kids and dogs to play, nature-oriented activities like bird watching or kayaking, and so much more. Our city is blessed to have incredibly talented parks and rec staff as well as an advisory board made up of residents who are passionate about our community. Those residents serving on our Parks & Recreation Advisory Board play an integral role in creating and supporting the services we offer.
At the June 8 city commission meeting, we appointed five residents to serve new terms on the advisory board. As a result of our increased emphasis and outreach efforts to attract more diversity to our city boards, there were 12 extremely qualified applicants representing a diverse range of professional and personal backgrounds. If their applications and interviews were any indication, any of the 12 applicants would have been an asset to the board and our city. With so many well-qualified, diverse applicants, it took several rounds of voting to identify the top five appointees.
I’d hope you’ll join me in congratulating the following newly appointed board members:
- Dion Westerman
- Janet Yuen
- José Cedeno
- Lisa Theisen
- Patrick Harris
If the rest of the commission meeting was any indication, our Parks & Rec Advisory Board members will have plenty of opportunities to provide input and share their ideas. The commission had a healthy debate about potentially taking over the Kiwanis Club location in East Wilton Manors, acquiring the county-owned parkland behind Wilton Towers along the water, and whether the recent land addition to Colohatchee Park was the highest and best use of our city’s limited budget. Evaluating the potential cost and benefits associated with park assets are tremendously complex, and we’ve collectively agreed to do it holistically rather than making decisions in a silo. Money spent on acquiring new property might arguably be better spent upgrading our existing parks or providing additional programs for seniors and kids!
Our city commission has made improving the quality of life for our residents a priority, and recreational programs and park upgrades are likely to play a role in that. Budget cuts have put the creation of an (expensive) Parks Master Plan out of reach. Instead, we’ll focus on continuing to gather input and ideas from residents about what’s most important to them in order to craft a plan with short- and long-term goals. I am confident our newly appointed board members will be instrumental throughout the process.
- Chris Caputo, Wilton Manors Commissioner