Leave our City Parks alone!


Former Vero Beach Mayor Richard Winger.

Editor’s Note: This subject has raised more concerns from the public than any other subject including the electric sale. Former Vero Beach Mayor and three-term City Councilman, Richard Winger, previously wrote a commentary against turning the River House into a brewery, which is only one aspect of City Council’s apparent efforts to monetize the City’s public assets. 

Our Public Parks are under attack by members of Vero Beach City Council where one Councilman claims we have thirty-one (31) Parks and that is too many.   He further feels Parks should pay for themselves.  Let’s get to the truth and speak up to defend and Keep our Parks!

At least 3 members of this current City Council have talked about selling our Marina, privatizing Leisure Square and the City’s only Public Pool and putting a Brewery in River House at McWilliams Park.  Then worst of all;  one City Council member made an offer to the Youth Sailing Foundation for a large parcel (4-5 acres) of Riverside Park for what amounts to potentially a 10,000 square foot building and sailboat marina in place of public space and structures open to all.

The Vero Beach City Council is selling the downtown Post Office, despite the buyer’s insistence this was extremely unwise.  They are also attempting to sell the 35 acres of the former Dodgertown golf course property that was purchased specifically for “green space” in the west portion of the City.

To set the record straight, there are seven (7) Beachside Parks: Memorial Island, Bob Summers Park (Baseball & Dog Park), Conn Beach and Jaycee Parks, Humiston Park, MacWilliam Boat Basin & Park, Riverside Park, and the South Beach Park.  Yes, you can get a higher number if you subdivide them a bit.

On the mainland there are seven (7) parks of an acre or more which are Charles Park (15th and 24th Ave.), Troy Moody Park (McAnsh), Pocahontas Park (downtown), Leisure Square, the City Cemetery, Young Park (east end of Park Avenue on the water), and Royal Palm Park (where the Splash Fountain is located).

That number is fourteen (14) Parks or fifteen (15) if you count the undeveloped Dodgertown Golf Course.    To get to the bogus number claimed by one City Council member, you have to include nine (9) Beach 0.10 acre access walks off Ocean Drive, Sexton Park Beach Access, one (1) small undeveloped plot in Bethel Creek, and eight (8) spits of grass in mainland neighborhoods hardly big enough to find.  That still does not add up…..but it makes the point there is no excess of parks for our City of Vero Beach style of living.

We pay taxes for our Parks and we want them unmolested.  We do not want them commercialized or given to special interest groups. Parks are for all of us; not those who can afford to pay.

If you agree with me please direct an e-mail to City Council, care of Tammy Bursick, City Clerk, or mail your thoughts to City Council at City of Vero Beach, 1053 20th Place, Vero Beach, Florida, 32960.

Thank you for reading and caring about Vero Beach.

Dick Winger


  1. One of the finer things about Vero Beach are it’s parks. They are always kept up and are a great asset to this community. I’m hard pressed to decide whether it is some madness associated with the idea that nothing that doesn’t put money directly in some “connected” parties’ pockets is taboo or just plain malfeasance, that is driving the push to privatize some of these properties. In either case it is an idea that is totally at odds with the spirit of this community and should not just be rejected, citizen’s should take a much closer look at who they have elected to make such decisions.

  2. Susan ZacharyBurke I am a 1950 native. Why isn’t there a dog park on the Westside.

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