With gleaming boats in the background and blue skies above, town officials celebrated the reopening of the Town Marina and Lake Drive Park Thursday afternoon.
A dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the park drew more than 150 guests, including town officials and staff, residents, local government officials and project partners.
Work on both projects was completed Nov. 1, and town officials thanked all who were involved in their conception, design, funding and construction before Town Council members gathered to cut a ceremonial red ribbon.
"Today is really a day to celebrate the successful completion of these projects, which will significantly contribute to the town for years and decades to come," Assistant Town Manager Carolyn Stone said in her opening remarks.
Mayor Danielle Moore noted in her remarks that town officials had long recognized the need for a new town marina. The old facility was built in the 1940s, and most recently was renovated in 1998.
"I remember when I was on the Rec Commission way back in 2005, that a renovation of these docks was sort of on the horizon for us," she said. "It's hard to imagine that our charming but no longer adequate facility, which no longer met our community's needs, would grow up in 2021 to become this sparkling new destination for super yachts and so much more."
The marina closed in May 2020 to make way for a top-to-bottom renovation in which all facilities were to be upgraded.
Work included the expansion of 84 slips to allow larger boats, the replacement of stationary docks with floating docks, a new security system, and upgraded technology that includes high-speed Wi-Fi and enhanced shore electrical power.
The $38 million project also included the addition of a fourth dock at the north end of the marina.
The 240-foot Palm Way Dock joins the classic Australian, Brazilian and Peruvian docks, which were built in segments at Bellingham Marine in Jacksonville and then shipped to Palm Beach.
As of Thursday, leases for 90% percent of the marina's slips have been deposited for annual and seasonal contracts, Stone said.
The marina can accommodate vessels from 60 feet to 294 feet.
"Our marina is not only beautiful to look at, but it's chock full of high-tech amenities that bring us into the 21st century in today's world of sophisticated luxury yachting," Stone said Thursday. "It's all anchored in the heart of Palm Beach."
Lake Drive Park closed in the spring for a $4 million redesign. Upgrades include new cobblestone walkways, native and low landscaping, traditional-style benches, a new flagpole, bike racks and new dog fountains composed of coral and antique tile with a bronze fixture.
Crews also resurfaced parking lots, added equipment landscape screening and reconfigured the trash-compactor area.
Keith Williams of landscape architecture firm Nievera Williams completed the project design pro bono, while interior designer Scott Snyder continues to raise more than $3 million for construction and maintenance costs.
In May, the Town Council approved a final project budget of $4.01 million, with $1.13 million in town funds previously earmarked for the project and another $2.5 million coming from Snyder's fund-raising efforts. The balance will be drawn from the general fund’s undesignated reserves.
Construction within the park will continue for at least a year, but the work won't be clearly visible to guests, Director of Public Works Paul Brazil told the Daily News in October.
"This park has been transformed into a gorgeous space that is truly fitting of the Town of Palm Beach," Moore said Thursday.
Improvements to South Lake Drive outside the marina and park also were completed this fall. Work included the installation of conduit for utilities undergrounding and a new waterline for the city of West Palm Beach.
Additionally, new crosswalks were installed at various intersections, and new stop signs were put in place for southbound traffic, including a three-way stop at Brazilian Avenue and a two-way stop at Peruvian Avenue. New stop signs for northbound traffic also are in place at Chilean and Australian avenues.
Jodie Wagner is a USA TODAY Network of Florida journalist. You can reach her at email@example.com. Help support our journalism. Subscribe today.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Daily News: Palm Beach hosts ribbon-cutting ceremony for $38 million marina