When one of the busiest playgrounds in Wellington closed earlier this year, not to open again for almost a year, you would have expected a little more … attention.
For its part, Wellington did a great job of sharing the news on social media: Scott’s Place Playground next to Village Hall and the amphitheater on Forest Hill Boulevard closed in early July, and isn’t expected to open again until late April 2023, according to Wellington’s website and a recent conversation I had with Village Manager Jim Barnes.
But there was still a lot of confusion on social media, and little to no coverage from the press. From the outside, it looks like Scott’s Place closed because of the parking lot project that is part of the two-phase Town Center expansion along the Lake Wellington waterfront. The real reason is much more exciting, if you have children. Yes, it means Tiger Shark Cove Playground is going to be packed for the next few months — don’t worry, I have some tips on other playgrounds you should check out, coming soon — but it hopefully will be worth the wait.
Most of the work happening around Wellington’s Community Center right now is related to that parking lot expansion between the Community Center and Village Hall, work has begun on the next stage, which includes:
- A 4,000-square-foot expansion of Scott’s Place
- More green space for events at the amphitheater
- A dedicated food truck area
- Four new picnic pavilions
- A holiday display area between Scott’s Place and the 9/11 Memorial
The price tag for the entire project is about $8.3 million, according to village records. But the site plan has me excited. Look at all of that green space around the amphitheater. A long-running issue has been a lack of space when events are packed. The food truck parking is a bonus; the family-favorite event now won’t take up valuable spaces for attendees.
Let’s not forget one of the key reasons Scott’s Place is such a popular playground, both inside and outside Wellington: It’s barrier-free, meaning that it’s built to accommodate children of all needs and ages. I’ve taken my son, Casey, there since he could crawl.
The purple area on the site plan above shows the eventual footprint of Scott’s Place. That playground has a special place in my heart. My son loves it. It’s within walking distance of our house. And we had our son’s first birthday party just outside the gates at the picnic tables.
While it might be an inconvenience now, I think in the long run this is a great plan to make this area more accessible for families who hope to attend events without dealing with difficult parking situations.
It’s important to note, this phase of Scott’s Place’s expansion does not include more or new equipment. That will come later, Village Manager Barnes told me. The current work sets the scene for more equipment once the current playground equipment needs to be replaced. That also gives Wellington time to apply for grants to help pay for that new equipment, he said.
Side note: Looking for Wellington’s weekly free concert and food truck events that take place every Thursday? Those have moved to Village Park, off Pierson Road south of Forest Hill Boulevard.