A new city park at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches is expected to open during spring training — about a year late.
The 12-acre park will be called Lincoln Park, a tribute to a now-defunct Negro Leagues field in the north end of the city that in the 1940 and ’50s hosted Jackie Robinson, Josh Gibson and other stars.
The public park, paid for by the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros, will feature lighted basketball courts, a playground, splash pad, exercise equipment and roofed pavilions with charcoal grills. It also has a jogging trail and benches overlooking a man-made lake and, in the far distance, the ballpark’s main stadium.
The south end of the park abuts a grassy strip along a canal that is used for soccer fields and overflow parking for spring training games.
The teams haven’t released the cost of the park but have said it will be several million dollars.
The park’s original opening was supposed to coincide with the opening in February of The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, the $152 million spring training home shared by the Astros and Nationals.
But construction delays at the ballpark wound up pushing back development of the city park, which was a key component in spring training negotiations between the teams, the city and Palm Beach County. The entire 160-acre site at one time had been proposed to be a regional city park.
“That (12-acre park) was a bone of contention with the contractor but we are hopeful to have that open during the spring training season,” said Rick Greene, the city’s development services director.
“It got delayed but it is moving forward now. It’s about 90 percent complete.”