The Hillsboro Inlet Park, located at 2700 N. Ocean Blvd. in Pompano Beach, across from the Hillsboro Lighthouse, has been renamed the Roy L. Rogers Family Park.
The Pompano Beach City Commission, at its Jan. 10 meeting, unanimously approved the renaming of the park in recognition of the many contributions Lighthouse Point resident Roy Rogers has made to Pompano Beach and the South Florida region during decades of public service, particularly in preserving the environment. One of his most notable achievements is developing the City of Weston, while adhering to environmentalist principles.
“I’m just overcome with the decision that was made,” said Rogers of the park’s renaming. “It’s really not Roy Rogers singularly, it’s my family, and it’s a treasure I can leave behind that’s enduring.”
The request to rename the city-owned park was brought forth by Shipwreck Park, Inc., the nonprofit organization that sank two vessels off the coast of Pompano Beach — the Lady Luck and the Okinawa — to create an artificial reef system, which Roy Rogers and his family played a role in.
In a letter to the City requesting the renaming of the park, Rob Wyre, chairman of Shipwreck Park, highlighted the many ways Rogers has contributed to the community.
Most recently, Rogers made a $100,000 pledge through the Rogers Family Trust for the Wahoo Bay project that is being developed at the inlet park now named in his honor. The Wahoo Bay project, an initiative of Shipwreck Park, will offer children an interactive underwater experience and educate them on the important balance of the world’s marine ecosystem and its impact on everyday life. Without the contribution from Rogers, it would not have been possible to secure the necessary materials to start the project, said Wyre.
A longtime enthusiast of butterflies, Rogers helped establish and fund Butterfly World in Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek. It has become one of the largest butterfly parks in the world, housing approximately 20,000 live butterflies. Schools and families visit the facility each year to learn about the role butterflies play in sustaining the environment.
“Butterflies grace the world; they’re a sign of hope,” said Rogers.
Rogers served on the Pompano Beach Economic Development Council (EDC) for over 15 years, stepping down in 2022. He chaired the committee that established the EDC’s bylaws. He also served as the Education Chair for the EDC, and put in many volunteer hours working with the Broward County School Board and its staff to improve the school ratings in Pompano Beach, including helping out in the classroom himself. Through these efforts, Pompano’s “F” grade schools rose to “B” grade schools within three years, and two of them went on to achieve “A” grades.
“This accomplishment has undoubtedly helped hundreds of children in the city,” said Wyre.
“It shows that all children can learn whatever the demographic profile is, if you give them the opportunity,” said Rogers.
Rogers helped facilitate major projects between the City of Pompano Beach and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). With his assistance, the City was able to acquire Dixie Highway in its entirety through Pompano Beach. This acquisition was critical in helping the City develop its plans for a new downtown. In addition, FDOT transferred almost $5 million in funding to the City as this money had already been designated for the resurfacing of Dixie Highway.
Rogers also leveraged his relationship with FDOT and other transportation agencies to help beautify the I-95 interchange at Atlantic Boulevard, which serves as a gateway into Pompano Beach. Moreover, Rogers successfully advocated to have royal palms planted, at no cost, along Federal Highway in Pompano Beach, Lighthouse Point and Deerfield Beach.
Rogers played a pivotal role in helping Pompano Beach become a Sister City. He was also instrumental in helping Pompano Beach establish a Greg Norman Signature Golf Course, which draws thousands of visitors to the city each year.
Eleven years ago, Rogers initiated the Parks Foundation of Broward County, which serves as a volunteering and fundraising arm of the Broward County Parks and Recreation Division for the endowment of capital projects, as well as educational, recreational and cultural programs.
Rogers worked for the Arvida Corporation for 16 years as part of the team that created the City of Weston. From the very beginning, his love for nature and passionate commitment to preserving the environment influenced his approach to development, said Rogers.
“That’s why Arvida hired me,” he said. “They knew what they were getting. I think you can develop in a benign way.”
Rogers attributes his love for nature to his 12-year career in the United States Navy, where he worked his way up to lieutenant. During the Cold War era, he served on a series of different ships, and then on submarines.
In the Arctic Ocean, he served on one of the first nuclear submarines with thermal nuclear missiles. The submarine would be out on patrol for two-and-a-half months at a time.
On the rare occasions when Rogers could raise the periscope and look out, he felt a heightened sense of joy to finally see a bird and the sun, and see real color again.
After leaving the Navy, Rogers went on to oversee the designing and building of golf courses all over the world for renowned golf course architect Robert Trent Jones. Following that, he began his work as a developer, and along the way, joined a number of environmental organizations.
“The environmental movement became a very big part of my life,” said Rogers.
Rogers has been a resident of Lighthouse Point for the past 45 years, living directly across the street from DeGroff Park. The 4.5-acre park lies along the Intracoastal Waterway at the end of NE 52nd Street. Rogers has initiated a number of improvements to DeGroff Park over the years, collaborating with the City of Lighthouse Point and members of the community. In 2021, Rogers and his family gifted the City with $20,000 to carry out improvements to the park in memory of his wife, Susan “Mandy” Rogers, who died in 2019. The park was a favorite spot for Rogers and his wife to spend time with their four children and 15 grandchildren.
At the Jan. 10 Pompano Beach city commission meeting, a number of people were in attendance to support the renaming of the Hillsboro Inlet Park as the Roy L. Rogers Family Park, including Broward County Mayor Lamar Fisher and State Representative Chip LaMarca.
Fisher said Rogers “has served humbly and without asking for anything back. He just continues to give, give, give to Pompano Beach and to Broward.”
LaMarca said he typically would not support changing the name of an existing park, but “it’s the perfect fit.”
Tom DiGiorgio, chair of the Pompano Beach Economic Development Council, said renaming the park in tribute to Rogers “is really appropriate” because it “really represents who he is – the water, the environment.”
Pompano Beach Mayor Rex Hardin said: “Roy has been a role model for so many of us in so many fields – in government, in development. He built Weston, but he is a naturalist at heart. He really showed that you can develop and keep the environment at the forefront of what you’re doing. He’s a true giant in our area.”
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