Commissioners Oct. 15 will decide whether one of the city’s beachfront parks, known for the past three decades as Oceanfront Park, should be renamed to include the city’s name.
The Recreation and Parks Advisory Board, in a 5-0 vote Sept. 23, recommended the park be renamed Boynton Oceanfront Park.
Wally Majors, the city’s recreation and parks director, said the board “struggled” with coming up with a new name.
“We do have some members of our board that have been in Boynton all their lives. (The beach) became Oceanfront Park when we installed the original boardwalk in the early 1980s,” Majors said, adding that before then, the beach was unofficially known as Boynton Municipal Beach.
“It wasn’t an easy recommendation but ultimately they decided on Boynton Oceanfront Park,” Majors said.
Changing the park’s name stemmed from Commissioner David Merker’s suggestion that the beach’s name should include Boynton Beach for branding purposes.
At a commission meeting in August, Merker said the name should tell anyone who swims or wades there that they are bathing in Boynton’s beach.
On Monday, Merker said he did not support naming the beach Boynton Oceanfront Park — he wants it to be known simply as Boynton Beach.
“It’s part of the city of Boynton, and our city is called Boynton Beach. This way, people know it’s Boynton Beach. You don’t need ‘front’ or ‘park’ or any adjectives,” Merker said.
The other commissioners, however, agree Boynton Oceanfront Park is the way to go.
Vice Mayor Woodrow Hay said he had no problem with naming the beach Boynton Oceanfront Park.
“I’m looking for something with Boynton in it,” Hay said.
Mayor Jerry Taylor said having Boynton included in the name will give the city some notoriety.
“A lot of people don’t even know it belongs to Boynton Beach because it’s located in Ocean Ridge. I think this is good,” Taylor said.
Commissioner Joe Casello, who attended the Recreation and Parks Advisory Board meeting, said that although the city’s older residents might always call it Oceanfront Park, “with the new people moving into the area, I think having Boynton in front of it is a wonderful idea.”
Commissioner Mike Fitzpatrick said the park has always been “the beach” to him.
“I started peddling my tricycle a mile to the park in 1956 while my mom pulled my sisters in a red wagon. I never gave its actual name much thought. I am fine with accepting the recommendation of the Recreation and Parks Board,” he said.
The park, a 12-acre property owned and maintained by Boynton Beach although it physically sits in the town of Ocean Ridge, was bought by the city in 1921 and since then has gone through at least four renovations.