Plan for new park finally moving forward

Park delays blamed on economy, zoning issues

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Take a look at Cunningham Park in Riviera Beach today and there's little to smile about.

The grass is overgrown, the basketball courts are old and the playground is no longer there.

But new plans debuted to the public for the first time Thursday night, are designed to make everyone in the neighborhood dizzy with excitement.

“Cunningham is the number one priority right now,” said John Williams, Parks and Rec Director for the city.

Two years ago, the Contact 5 Investigators uncovered serious playground dangers at the park. The slide was melted, the wood rotted and the yellow tape to keep kids off had faded and torn over time.

Shortly after our story, Williams promised that a new park was on the way. But it never came.

“You said the park would be complete by spring 2013,” asked the Contact 5 Investigators last year.

"That park should be up and running probably, I want to say, February 2014," answered Williams.  "We did run into some snags," he explained.

Williams said a portion of the 3.7 acre site was owned by the school district which caused zoning issues and more delays.

“We've done at least 7 parks in the last 5 years so we have a really good track record of getting parks done, this one just had some difficulties,” he said.

“The park was the place to play,” said Leslie who lives  right across the street and always has.

“We used to go into the park and play ball, football, baseball, kickball,” she told us.

Preliminary designs now include open green space, grills, new basketball courts and a new playground with a water feature.

“The kids need to run and play like I did when I was smaller,” said Leslie.

A new and improved Cunningham Park will cost the city about one million dollars. 

As for its estimated completion date, Williams isn’t making any commitments.

“I'm not going to let you get me into that again. When it's done, it's done,” he said.

The final plans still need to be approved. The architects and engineers on the project say a new park could be open for business by June, 2015.

Watch the whole clip of Katie LaGrone's "watered down" stand up