Desoto Park: Something Unique for the City of Satellite Beach

May 4 marked the grand opening of Brevard County’s first play space that isn’t just for kids. The City of Satellite Beach is home to Desoto Park, which is a cleverly disguised stormwater treatment facility that provides green space, water access and exercise equipment for residents of all ages.

Through city funding and grants from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Division of State Lands Recreational Trails Program, the facility was completed and has quickly become a popular recreation destination.

“This park is very busy. We see people there all day long, every day,” says Courtney Barker, the City Manager for the City of Satellite Beach.

While people are relaxing by the 1.5-acre retention pond, gazing at the fountain, walking or jogging the trails, putting in a kayak or using the fitness equipment, they could be completely unaware that the park wasn’t simply designed as a modern recreation locale: the park is quietly working nonstop to protect the environment.

“Desoto Park is actually a large stormwater retention and treatment facility. The pond collects stormwater and treats the water through a bioactivated media material that lines the bottom of the pond to specifically filter out nutrients before they enter into the Indian River Lagoon,” says Barker. In addition to treating the stormwater from an almost 300-acre drainage basin that flows into the Indian River Lagoon, the park was planted with many native trees. Solar lighting is also planned to be installed.

The environmental work the park is doing makes it a win-win for area residents, who can take advantage of the multigenerational exercise equipment to stay fit, kayak in cleaner waters, and enjoy the greenery. The park is unique in the focus on adult exercise.

“Since we have so many parks dedicated to children, we wanted to provide something for adults too. We picked out fitness equipment that is for all adult ages and includes accessible equipment pieces as well,” says Barker, adding, “The concept of providing infrastructure and facilities for all ages, and to promote a community that allows adults to ‘age in place,’ means that people don’t have to move to a community that provides infrastructure and services for older residents. We provide all those services right here in Satellite Beach.”

While people are enjoying the new centerpiece of Satellite Beach—whether to access the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail, to get in a few sets of leg presses, or to take a walk around the pond—the park itself will continue to function as an important sustainability feature that is protecting Florida’s valuable natural resources and improving precious waterways.

Desoto Park is located at 499 Desoto Pkwy, City of Satellite Beach.

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