Playground promises, more delays

Cunningham Park rehab budgeted since 2012

"That park should be up and running probably, I want to say, February 2014," said John Williams, Riviera Beach Parks & Recreation Director. That was last summer. 

Today, Cunningham Park remains overgrown, rundown and an eyesore to neighbors.

"Now we have nothing there," said Leslie, who has lived across the street from the park all of her life. She remembers playing in the park as a kid. "It used to, very much so, be alive. Kids used to play here all the time."

Today, the kids who stop by, don't have reason to stay.  They haven't for the past few years.

Two years ago, the Contact 5 Investigators first uncovered the dangers at Cunningham Park. The playground structure on the property was riddled with rusted metal. Portions of the plastic had melted over time and the yellow tape put in place to keep kids out, had faded and ripped over time.

After we brought the dangerous conditions to the city's attention, the playground structure was taken down. Then came the promises for a brand new one, complete with a new playground, a water feature and an amphitheater.

John Williams, Parks & Recreation Director told the Contact 5 Investigators that a new park would be complete by Spring 2013. When the park wasn't complete, he gave NewsChannel 5 another date of completion, February 2014.

"We did run into some snags," he said last July. 

A portion of the park is owned by the school district. Williams, at the time, explained that the city was trying to figure out if the city would be able to obtain that portion. 

Wednesday morning, Contact 5 Investigators were scheduled to speak with Mr. Williams for an update. When we arrived at his office, he wasn't there. His assistant said we weren't on the calendar and that she didn't know where he was.

Calls and texts to Mr. Williams were not returned. 

We did catch up with Riviera Beach City Council Chair, Judy Davis.

Davis told the Contact 5 Investigators she was recently made aware of the park's renovations plans.  Records show Cunningham Park has been budgeted for a $700,000 facelift since 2012.

"Government, the wheels turn very very slowly," Davis said.  "Riviera Beach is used to waiting for things."

The question is, how much longer?

"Please, please, please put something out there for the kids for the summer," said Leslie.

The latest design plans for this new park will be on display Thursday. Neighbors will have a chance to weigh in from 6-8 p.m. at the Lindsey Davis Community Center.