Celebrate With Us As The District Turns 50!

The Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District turns 50 this month and we're inviting the entire Boca Raton community to join us for a golden celebration.

In March of 1974 the Florida legislature created what was then known as the Greater Boca Raton Beach Tax District to help the city pay for the purchase of land that became Red Reef Park and the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. A few months later residents of Boca Raton voted 2,645-1,649 to approve the legislature's work.

The District's accomplishments for the Boca Raton community over the next 50 years are worth celebrating!

Beginning on April 11, a special display highlighting our 50 years will open at the Sugar Sand Park Community Center. Ten days later District Commissioners will host a barbecue at Sugar Sand Park that will include free carousel rides for children. A complete calendar of events appears at the bottom of this story. 

Governor Reubin Askew appointed James Deutsch, Kennith Dix, Raymond Homrich, Richard Marshall and John Wessel as the District's first five Commissioners. The first election for District Commissioners came in 1976.

In total 22 men and four women have taken the Commissioner's oath. The governor appointed the first 10 commissioners. Since then 12 of 16 Commissioners initially joined the board by winning elections.

Boca Raton is often described as “A City Within A Park.” How did it get that moniker?

District Commissioners oversaw the purchase and creation of Patch Reef and Sugar Sand parks; helped create the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center; and preserved Boca Raton green space by purchasing Ocean Strand and North Park – all while funding renourishment of our beaches and other projects that ensured Boca Raton boasts some of Florida's finest recreational facilities.

Along with preserving oceanfront and green space, the District also funds the operation of Patch Reef Park, Sugar Sand Park and Ocean Strand Park; and funds a significant amount of the operation of Gumbo Limbo, North Park, the FAU soccer fields, Mizner Bark Park and the Spanish River Athletic Complex.

In the coming months this newsletter will dive deeper into District accomplishments while highlighting some of the people and events that have made the District so successful.

Our intention isn't to brag - but make no mistake, we're proud of all we've accomplished for the Boca Raton community. District Commissioners and staff are frequently asked questions like: What is the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District? Why does it exist? What does the District do? And, How is the District different from the City of Boca Raton and its parks and recreation department? The series is designed to answer all those queries.

We hope the entire Boca Raton community will celebrate with us, and in doing so achieve a better understanding of all the great amenities the District provides our “City Within A Park.”


April 11 6-7 p.m.
Archival Display at Sugar Sand Park Community Center opens.
Coffee and cookies available to the public.

April 21, 11:30 a.m. - TBA
Barbecue at Sugar Sand Park.
Free carousel rides for children.

May 29
Archival Display opens at Boca Raton Historical Society.

July (Parks and Recreation Month)
Sponsoring a tree giveaway.
Events at various parks.

September 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 (All Sundays)
Free carousel rides for children.

September 29
Cupcakes at Sugar Sand Park.

District 50th Anniversary Graphic

This story originally appeared in the March 2024 edition of our District Dispatch newsletter. To receive future newsletters via email, enter your email address below, then click "Send Me District Newsletter Updates!"