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Golden Sands Park set to open in days
BY A STAFF WRITER (Week of January 22, 2009)

One of the two beachside parks that have been getting a total makeover on the northern end of the Vero Beach barrier island is set to open in the next few days, with the other slated for completion by as early as April.

“Two brand new parks within 90 days of each other, that is really something when you think about it,” said county Parks Superintendent David Fleetwood of the work being done on Golden Sands and Wabasso Beach parks. “We have been ‘band-aiding’ stuff for years, and now in these times, to have two brand new parks is just great.”

The new Golden Sands Park, acquired from Windsor Properties in a land swap, is set to open before the end of the month. The work is essentially completed, but now the actual paper work completing the trade must be approved.

Golden Sands will maintain its old entrance on State Road A1A, but the nine acres of park are shifting slightly to the south. In return, Windsor – which built the new park and donated $1 million to the Parks Department — can consolidate its property holdings to the north for future development.

The old Golden Sands Park was in need of refurbishing anyway, and the new park has all the amenities including a brand new boardwalk, restrooms, pavilions, playground and parking lot.

Wabasso Beach Park has been in disrepair since suffering the 2004 hurricanes.

“Wabasso had to be a complete renovation after Hurricane Frances took away 400 foot of boardwalk, lifeguard towers, picnic pavilions, just about everything was destroyed,” Fleetwood said.

It took nearly four years to obtain the money and then go through the arduous permitting process to complete the project. Work could not begin until Nov. 1 until after the end of turtle season.Fleetwood estimates that the job is now about 40 percent complete and said Wabasso remains on target for an April or perhaps May opening.

He added that the bathrooms are just about completed, work is being done on a guard rail for the boardwalk, and the picnic pavilions are close to being finished.

The park will feature new landscaping, showers, barbecue grills, and lifeguard towers and parking lot along with the picnic pavilions and boardwalk.