Have you taken a stroll along the new Wellington Town Center Promenade? If not, head on over to the Wellington Community Center and look behind the building for the newly renovated and expanded Lake Wellington waterfront.
Once bordered by weeds and rushes, Lake Wellington now features a lit, paved walkway that runs the length of the shore from behind the great lawn near the Wellington Community Center to the Lake Wellington Professional Centre.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the view — it’s still stunning, especially at sunset.
The concept of a “town center,” a place of gathering for all of Wellington’s residents, has been a key consideration in long-term strategic planning for most of the past decade. In August 2017, the Wellington Village Council first began discussing “activating the waterfront,” specifically referring to the lakefront area behind the community center. The council approved the final promenade design in May 2019.
Work on this highly anticipated project started in October 2019 with the construction of an 800-foot retaining wall. Once the retaining wall was complete, it was time for the 20-foot paver promenade, as well as concrete posts and railings along the water’s edge.
Special lighting for the columns, along with light poles, benches, trash bins and water fountains followed. The dog-friendly promenade runs the length of the 800-foot retaining wall ranging from 20 to 30 feet in width.
The lake’s existing gazebo and dock were incorporated into the plan, and the entire project was completed in July 2020, although additional docks for boaters may be added later, pending a U.S. Department of the Interior Land & Water Conservation Fund grant.
Once the grant is finalized as hoped, fabrication and installation of the additional docks could be completed by late October.
“What we’ve created here is a place for families, children and seniors to come together and enjoy all the great things that our village has to offer. When we think of Wellington, we think parks and green spaces,” Mayor Anne Gerwig said. “With the completion of this new promenade, we’ve added a new feature to our community’s list of highlights — an inviting way to take advantage of this beautiful waterfront.”
The area has already become a getaway spot for joggers, families and people just seeking a quiet place for reflection.
“This boardwalk and the Town Center project concept, as a whole, reinforces our commitment to enhancing the quality of life that makes Wellington a great place to live and raise a family,” Vice Mayor Tanya Siskind explained.
The next addition to the lakefront will be a children’s playground, to be located near the promenade just north of the existing pavilion. With funding provided through another grant, the site plan and engineering design contract for this Phase 2 edition came before the Wellington Village Council last month with other possible concepts, including expansion of the nearby Wellington Amphitheater grounds and Scott’s Place playground.
“As a Wellington resident and a father, I am excited for the future of the village’s Town Center,” Councilman Michael Drahos said. “The new playground and boat docks will cater to residents of all ages and will provide additional opportunities for recreation and leisure activities on the waterfront.”
Further additions to the Town Center area, which also includes the Wellington Municipal Complex, the Patriot Memorial and the Wellington Aquatics Complex, are expected in the years to come.
“This is just the beginning for our Town Center,” Councilman John McGovern said. “Years from now, when Lake Wellington becomes our village’s go-to spot for events and gatherings, we will look back at our promenade project and be thankful for the forethought and planning that made it all possible. I commend village staff and my fellow council members for their dedication to preserving and enhancing our Lake Wellington waterfront.”
A summer of activities had been planned to unveil this new gem to the Wellington community. Due to the pandemic, those plans are temporarily on hold and a “virtual grand opening” was held instead.
Nevertheless, this new amenity is destined to become a future gathering spot for green markets, festivals and more.
“We’ve often used the phrase ‘a place of gathering’ when discussing this project,” Councilman Michael Napoleone said. “Well, that is exactly what we’ve built here. A place where we can bring our children to play and explore, a place where our seniors can take a sunset stroll and a place that will serve as a backdrop for creating memories for years to come.”