Let's first establish that in making any comparisons with other communities we're not suggesting that Wellington should be more like any of the comparable communities. In fact, just the opposite. Wellington should be especially thoughtful about realizing and building upon its own unique existing character. That's what we intend to do.
The Demographics - Before we bother to make comparisons it's important to note, and possibly a surprise, that Wellington's demographics are arguably superior to similar Palm Beach County communities (see the ones noted just below). Wellington has a higher median household income; more population than all but Boca Raton; a younger median age; and much stronger future growth prospects than any of the communities noted. We just have some catching up to do on the amenities scale.
The Natural Amenities - Wellington obviously doesn't have the beach element that many competing communities have - Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, for example. However, Wellington possesses something pleasing that most of them don't possess - and that's an abundance of open green space.
It is this characteristic of Wellington - open vistas and green space - that we can build upon and enhance to serve as our community's attractive natural amenity. We incorporate this element into our Wellington Gardens plan for K Park by setting aside extremely generous acreage (approximately 20 acres in all) to create quality open green space (parks and gardens). Wellington Gardens will emphasize this important characteristic of our community.
Restaurants - Aside from our abundance of chain restaurant concepts that are scattered around town as free-standing buildings on outparcels surrounded by asphalt, Wellington offers a relatively small selection of better quality and/or independent restaurants compared to any of the communities named above. Yes, we have Coach House, The Grille, Oli's, Agilolio, Franco's, Devine Bistro, Stonewood, Kontiki, Tub Tim and Jordan's. Heck, we'll even throw in Bonefish Grille, as among our better restaurant offerings. But, let's be honest, this offering is meager by comparison to what any of the other above communities offers for better dining. And, it's not just the paltry number of our better dining options where we fall far short, but it's also the setting/atmosphere that is sorely lacking at each place. Just think about the outdoor dining options we have in Wellington and try to come up with the lone restaurant whose outdoor dining consists of something more than tables on a sidewalk overlooking a parking lot. If you came up with Coach House, you got it. Our Wellington Gardens plan will bring at least 4-5 quality, restaurant offerings. And, each will provide generous outdoor patio dining that is beautifully landscaped and overlooking nothing but a green, expansive central park and promenade walkways. Oh, and one more thing, with perhaps 1 or 2 exceptions, the restaurant concepts will be unique independents, not more chain concepts. We already have commitments from 3 quality independent restaurant operators.
Entertainment - Okay, you know our entertainment options in Wellington and you know that they are scarce. That's why you often drive somewhere else for this purpose. And, it's why you worry now or will worry in the future about your teenage sons or daughters having to drive more than 30 minutes at night to find a place to go out for an exciting date. With the Urban Land Institute and nearly every other planning body identifying entertainment as a key component for successful communities , we think it's critical that Wellington deliver on this element. Every one of the communities noted above has its own modern movie theater or theaters, bowling, live music and more. We plan for all of these in state of the art fashion for our proposed Wellington Gardens project. A nice dinner and a movie right here in our own backyard? It's convenient. It will save Wellington residents many needless hours of drive time each year. And, it will enhance our local quality of life.
Strolling, Walkability, Parks and Nature - Here's one category where Wellington can really take the lead in providing to our residents a superior community amenity. Most suburban communities have not planned well enough for this highly-prized feature, but Wellington is extremely well-positioned to deliver in what can be an exceptional way for our community. In Wellington Gardens we will provide our own walking/biking paths through the park area and botanical gardens, but what we propose on a larger, community scale is that these walking/biking paths be extended along Stribling from K Park to Forest Hill, east to 441, then south all the way to Versailles. With landscaping, shaded areas, lighting and signage, this would serve as an incredibly good and useful walkable loop around Wellington's commercial core. It could help significantly to alleviate some of the traffic concerns in this commercial corridor. And, at least one excellent destination/stopping point on the loop would be the parks, cafes, and gardens that Wellington Gardens would provide. See the blog post, "A Walkability Plan for Wellington" below.
Wellington can compare favorably and compete with other Palm Beach County communities on its own terms by creating and emphasizing its own unique set of amenities and characteristics. We have the opportunity at K Park to begin this process and serve as a model for what a great family community can be.