Community Archives - Big Picture Broward | Big Picture Broward

Having a Vision for Future Generations

[A message to our city’s civic associations]

[Estimated Read Time: 10 Minutes, 30 Seconds]

The Benefits of High-Rise Development in Fort Lauderdale

Downtown development is good for the environment. With an ever-growing world, managing our population requires visionary planning and change.

Suburban sprawl used to be the American dream. It went something like this… Buy a home in a subdivision and raise a family. Live in a neighborhood where everyone has a yard, a pool, and a fleet of automobiles. Live far away from work so as not to blend family life with career.

Back then, everyone wanted their own plot of land out west and they didn’t care at what cost to the environment. City planners needed to lay hundreds of miles of sewage lines and underground infrastructure to support this era of suburban sprawl. Thousands of people had to commute from west to east spanning the length of the county to get to work every day. Land availability became scarce and carbon emissions compounded. Broward County began to run out of land for large tract developments, pricing homes out of reach for the majority of people living here.

Already, suburbia has eaten up precious land at a rate of 2-4 homes per acre. Whereas, a high-rise can have as many as 150 homes per acre with just one lawn and one pool accommodating all residents. In suburbia, 150 homes would amount to 150 pools to fill, 150 lawns to water, and 150-300 vehicles on our roadways (1-2 per household).

Over time, it has become clear that our former living systems are no longer sustainable. The American dream has changed. 

If you look to the future and think about our children, our community should understand the value in managing where people live. Politicians pandering to high-rise residents complaining about high-rise development is not in the best interest of our society as a whole.

If you want to go green and be a part of the solution then you have to think vertically.

The Benefits of High-Rise Development in Fort Lauderdale
Keep reading to learn how high-rise development will improve the quality of life for everyone living and working in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

As Fort Lauderdale continues to emerge as a more active and vibrant South Florida community, the pressure for urban planners to design suitable accommodations increases. The density of buildings, traffic, the scarcity of land, and the competitive spirit among developers are all factors that encourage city planners to push buildings higher.

It is common for developing cities, like Fort Lauderdale, to experience growing pains (especially regarding the perspective of some community members and perception of what development implies). But we should trust that as our landscape evolves, so will our means of implementing solutions to the challenges we face today.

These are the 3 most outspoken concerns from some Fort Lauderdale residents (in regards to high-rise development in downtown):

  • Traffic
  • Wind Tunnels
  • Sewage

The Implications of Halting Downtown Development

We believe the concerns of ALL Fort Lauderdale residents should be present in local decision making, not just those who live in a high-rise in downtown and believe that progress should stop at their front door; that once they have their slice of paradise, enough is enough. That is why Big Picture Broward got its start.

We don’t believe that we can solve our city’s current infrastructure and mobility needs by halting progress in downtown. Rather, we envision a more prosperous city center and more interconnected county by allowing inevitable growth to happen in the correct places.

Fort Lauderdale is in the international limelight.

Urban migration will not slow down. It is estimated that approximately 20,000 new residents are moving to Broward County annually. According to a Downtown Fort Lauderdale Population Demographics by Point 2 Homes, 1.77% of people living downtown moved from abroad; 15.11% moved from the same country; 4.1% from the same state; and 2.62% from out of state.

Fort Lauderdale is becoming an epicenter for arts, culture, cuisine, nightlife, industry, and more. A thriving economy, such as ours, is bound to gain national and international attention. This surge in cultural and social amenities and new business opportunities means that more and more people (whether they live, visit or commute) will be utilizing downtown daily. We have to properly build out the core of our city to accommodate this influx. By doing so, our community will thrive.

1. Traffic

The Benefits of High-Rise Development in Fort Lauderdale

Traffic is inevitable but it is not unsolvable. Nor is it debilitating, like other major cities in America. Additionally, with the success of the Penny Sales Tax, which will generate billions for traffic and mobility infrastructure over the next 30 years, our means of solving these issues will improve drastically.

When it comes to the major causes of traffic congestion, citizens who live, play and work in the same area are not the culprits. It is people who need to commute to go to work and access their favorite community amenities. Why? Because they are more inclined to use Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), like Uber and Lyft or drive alone. According to the Fort Lauderdale census reporter, the two primary means of transportation to work are driving alone (78%) and carpooling services (8%).

A newly published study in the journal of Science Advances shows that the major contributor to traffic congestion in San Fransisco (the 8th most congested city in the U.S.) is ride-sharing services. From 2010 to 2016, traffic congestion in San Fransisco increased by roughly 62%. Half of that increase was caused by Uber and Lyft.

Furthermore, a comprehensive review of dozens of studies, published by the Urban Land Institute, uncovered that since 1980, the number of miles Americans drive has grown three times faster than the population and almost twice as fast as vehicle registrations. The researchers conclude that one of the best ways to reduce carbon emission is to build compact places where people can accomplish more with less driving (Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat of the 21st Century: A Global Perspective).

If we keep downtown development (especially residential development) central to downtown for the duration of this building boom then we can limit the number of people navigating our roadways. More people will live in downtown, work in downtown, and socialize in downtown. They will, therefore, be more inclined to walk to their favorite coffee shop, ride a bike to NSU Art Museum, or scooter to the Brightline for their commute to Miami. The same rationale applies to visitors staying in a downtown hotel, like the Dal Mar.

However, if our downtown halts development, the population will continue to grow and investment will be inclined to develop in fringe areas, like the surrounding neighborhoods in Wilton Manor, Coral Ridge, Riverside, Rio Vista and so on. The residential paradigm will shift and citizens living in Fort Lauderdale and working/socializing in downtown will need to commute via automobile rather than a transportation alternative, thus congesting downtown.

2. Wind Tunnels

The Benefits of High-Rise Development in Fort Lauderdale

In regards to urban planning, the comfort and safety wind speed criteria were established based on research findings dating from the 1970s and 1980s that empirically examined the mechanical effect of wind on people’s acceptable range of comfort and safety. They require that new buildings and additions to existing buildings should not cause ground-level wind currents to exceed on a year-round basis the comfort level of 11 mph equivalent wind speed in areas of pedestrian use and 7 mph in areas with public seating.

According to Sage Journals’ Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science, “in 1985, San Francisco became one of the first cities in North America to adopt a downtown plan on ground-level wind currents, supplemented by planning codes. The intention has been to mitigate the adverse effects of wind on pedestrians by securing acceptable comfort in areas of public seating and walking (City and County of San Francisco, 1985). The plan focuses on the downtown area and four additional parts of the city, all associated with high density or development potential and substantial pedestrian activities.”

Furthermore, “A number of planners (Bosselmann, 1998Gehl, 2010Gehl and Svarre, 2013Loukaitou-Sideris and Banerjee, 1993Marcus and Francis, 1998Punter, 1999) and building scientists and urban climatologists (Brown and DeKay, 2001Donn, 2011) noted the significance of the plan in promoting more comfortable public spaces…”

This plan has since been adopted in other North America cities notable for high wind speeds, becoming a guide for urban planning nationwide.

Fort Lauderdale Wind Speed Ratio

The wind speed ratio in Fort Lauderdale does not even come close to other cities in North America. Typically, October is our windiest month, with just 5mph winds (World Weather & Climate Information). With an average annual wind speed of 3.9mph, it is unlikely that downtown development would cause wind speeds to rise above an uncomfortable level for pedestrians.

Therefore, concerns of wind tunnels in downtown Fort Lauderdale—especially without any empirical data suggesting they would rise above an uncomfortable level for pedestrians—should not encourage the downtown civic association to oppose high-rise developments.

3. Sewage/Infrastructure

The Benefits of High-Rise Development in Fort Lauderdale

Sustainability promotes compact urban design. It makes sense for city planners to build downtown Fort Lauderdale up. Tall buildings preserve land for more sustainable use, such as farming, renewable energy applications (solar power farms), recreational space and places of natural beauty. All of which are critical to our environment and quality of life.

Yes, tall buildings do require an abundance of energy for operations and utilities. The immediate strain on infrastructure can be a challenge for residents. However, that is only in the short term. Longterm, high-rise development will benefit our city greatly. It will be the taxes generated from these buildings that will help pay for many of the solutions.

It’s true, Fort Lauderdale has sewage needs. But these cracking pipes are 100 years in the making. Most of the breaks, if not all, were outside of the downtown core. Why? Because downtown’s infrastructure is newer. Last year, the city commission voted 4 to 1 in favor of borrowing $200 million to fix the worst parts of the failing water-sewer system: The New River, NE 25th Avenue, NE 38th Street and Las Olas, to name a few. Over the next five years, Fort Lauderdale should complete $460 million in utilities work rebuilding these pipes. It’s like replacing pipes in an old home. Don’t blame a newly renovated kitchen for the cracked pipes in an old bathroom.

If we all think progressively—think about what will benefit future generations—then high-rise development is essential to the longevity and prosperity of our city and quality of life. The consolidation of high-rises requires less linear feet of underground infrastructure which makes repairs and future replacements less costly and less messy.

According to Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat of the 21st Century: A Global Perspective, an article published by the University of Illinois School of Architecture, “By and large, vertically configured buildings facilitate more efficient infrastructure. Simply put, a 500-unit single-family subdivision requires many more roads, sidewalks, sewers, hydro lines, power and gas lines, light standards, fire hydrants, etc., than that of a tall building, which allows integrating these systems efficiently in a dense manner. Therefore, tall buildings can play an important role in creating sustainable cities.”

4. Affordability

The Benefits of High-Rise Development in Fort Lauderdale

The simple rule of supply and demand dictates that if we stop building housing units, then due to lack of supply and ever-growing demand, prices will go up. Between 2002 to 2008 the Fort Lauderdale City Commission slowed growth in order to develop a downtown masterplan. While a nationwide boom was happening, Fort Lauderdale was in a stall and Miami was growing rapidly. Today Miami has significantly more affordable rents in their downtown, and Fort Lauderdale is one of the least affordable places for workers to live.

Based on the lack of available subsidy funds, and the demand for affordable housing, restricting development in the densest areas is counterproductive and yet the city commission, the chamber of commerce, and many business associations have made workforce housing and affordability a number one priority.

5. I’m losing my view!

The Benefits of High-Rise Development in Fort Lauderdale

This may be the real culprit of the myriad of reasons why some argue to stop development. More than once, we have heard a downtown resident in an association meeting complain about other new buildings blocking their existing view. It astounds us when someone buys into the vibrancy of downtown, moves into a high rise building and then complains when the neighboring high rise blocks their original view. It is an absolutely selfish statement and is a reflection of people who have no true concern for smart-growth or future generations. Anyone who lives in a high rise should not be complaining about the development of high rises!

Conclusion

We should not expect our political leaders to be visionaries. But we should demand that they honestly look to the future and help navigate our planning processes based on facts and the best interests of all.

To move towards the future—to create a great city that truly benefits everyone—we must cultivate this era of downtown growth while we have such empowering momentum on our side.

This is The Big Picture.

Fort Lauderdale Knows How To Celebrate Father’s Day

“In the homes of our Nation, we look to the fathers to provide the strength and stability which characterize the successful family. If the father’s responsibilities are many, his rewards are also great — the love, appreciation, and respect of children and spouse.”

— President Lyndon B. Johnson

There’s no better way to show Dad how much you love him than by treating him to a fun outing in Fort Lauderdale. Below are some great options for your Father’s Day celebration this Sunday.

1. YOLO Brunch

Father's Day Brunch at YOLO, anyone?

You only brunch once… a year for Father’s Day! Take Dad to his favorite downtown Los Olas eatery for a special Father’s Day brunch at YOLO. From there, we have a list of even more places that Dad will love.

Reserve a table.

2. Tarpon River Brewing

Tarpon River Brewing - Best Breweries of Fort Lauderdale
photo by Tarpon River Brewing

If Dad loves delicious craft beer, then head to Tarpon River Brewing this Sunday. But don’t show up wearing any old outfit… If you want to treat dad to a free flight of beer at the brewery then you have to wear matching outfits. Talk about a father-daughter / father-son lookalike!

There will also be a Father’s Day package for $50 so be sure to talk to your bartender!

Check out the event details.

3. LauderAle Brewing

photo by LauderAle Brewery

After Dad downs his free beer flight at Tarpon River Brewing, there’s only one other logical place to go… LauderAle Brewing is hosting a Father’s Day car show with 20-minute beer tours all day Sunday. If Dad drives a classic or custom ride then pull up in style for 10% off all day long and a chance to win a $25 gift card to LauderAle Brewing.

Check it out!

4. Bonnet House

Historic Designation vs Historic Preservation
Step back in history at the Bonnet House.

If Dad is a sucker for art and culture, then Bonnet House is the place to be. Bonnet House Museum & Gardens want families to step back in time this Father’s Day to experience life as it was in the 30s and 40s (before Father’s Day was even a nationally recognized holiday!).

Dads get in free with one paid adult admission. Click here for more info.

5. Xtreme Action Park

If Dad is an action junky then head to Xtreme Action Park for an adrenaline fueled driving lesson. This Sunday, Dads race free from 10 AM to 10 PM! There is a catch, however… You have to bring the kids! The last one to cross the finish line buys dinner!

Learn more here.

What do you think our city needs: a beautiful community park or a new Federal courthouse?

[Estimated Read Time: 3 Minutes]

If you agree that the city-owned land known locally as the ‘One Stop Shop’ should be transformed into a city park, then click here. Below is an email template you may use to email your City Commissioners in a show of support.

What will the Fort Lauderdale City Commission do with the One Stop Shop?

There has been a lot of discussion regarding what to do with the vacant real estate known locally as the ‘One Stop Shop.’

Located east of the railroad tracks just off Andrews Avenue and NW 2nd Street, this valuable piece of real estate that borders Flagler Village in downtown Fort Lauderdale makes the ideal welcoming mat for Brightline passengers, Flagler Village residents and pedestrians alike.

So, what exactly should the people of Fort Lauderdale do with this jewel?

Though the Fort Lauderdale City Commission will decide the fate of the One Stop Shop, it is our responsibility as citizens to guide them towards the best decision; a decision that will benefit the community and improve the quality of life for those who live here.

As part of a developing downtown, it is important that city planners balance architecture with public green spaces. And, given that the One Stop Shop is literally the last significant downtown city-owned parcel that could be used for a beautiful city park, we believe it is the responsibility of the City Commission to protect this natural asset, and not squander such a valuable resource on brick and mortar.

The existing Federal Courthouse is located on Broward Blvd. and NE 3rd Avenue. It is a draw for lawyers and clients, court reporters and judges. Therefore, shouldn’t a new Federal Courthouse building be a part of the judicial district on the south side of the New River, within walking distance of the Broward County Courthouse? This would make much more sense than placing it in the heart of our downtown neighborhoods.

It is incumbent upon our community leaders to deliver a suitable site for the Federal Courthouse and save our city property for the good of the community.

Keep reading to learn more about why the One Stop Shop in Flagler Village would make the ideal community park.

What will the Fort Lauderdale City Commission do with the One Stop Shop?
The One Stop Shop already exists as an "open canvas community project." Since declaring it as such, the community has banned together to beautify the space with amazing street art.
What will the Fort Lauderdale City Commission do with the One Stop Shop?
The contrast of healthy foliage and colorful street art is a big draw to pedestrians, locals, and visitors. Wynwood Miami is a great example of the power of compelling street art and how it brings value to a community.

The benefits of converting the One Stop Shop into a city park.

Quality green space is an essential piece of any growing urban landscape. It provides families and residents a communal place of gathering, which is directly linked to improved quality of life. Studies show that spending just 20 minutes in a city park, whether exercising or relaxing, greatly improves one’s mental health and overall well being. These positive effects are even more beneficial to young people, as outdoor activity and recreation in public parks reduce the risk for mental health conditions such as depression.

A city park in replace of the One Stop Shop will also be a beautiful welcoming mat to Brightline passengers. This will encourage pedestrian movement to and from Flagler Village and the FATVillage arts district. And with the ongoing FATVillage art walk on the last Saturday of the month, this space would be even more valuable, as it would create a safer pedestrian connection between Flagler Village, downtown Fort Lauderdale, and neighboring residences.

Furthermore, with quality green space in proximity to neighboring residential complexes, new businesses will come to the area. With increased access to community amenities such as coffee shops, retail, restaurants and so on, Flagler Village will become another outstanding centerpiece to Fort Lauderdale’s improved landscape.

Conclusion

With the approval of the recent $200 million Fort Lauderdale Parks Bonds, the ability to transform this space into a community park is more available than ever before. Not only will a city park enhance the livability of Flagler Village and the surrounding neighborhoods, but it will also attract businesses to the area and connect core parts of the downtown sphere via safe and walkable routes.

What will the Fort Lauderdale City Commission do with the One Stop Shop?
Picture a pavilion with picnic benches and other communal lounge spaces for families, Flagler Village residents, and Brightline passengers to enjoy.

Contact your city commissioners.

Green space is what our city needs and it is not something we can get back once it is taken away from us. We need to encourage the City Commission to maintain this jewel in the hands of the people. Over the years, a community park will generate more value to the locals and add to the tropical beauty that is Fort Lauderdale.

We urge you to email your City Commissioners to show them that the majority of the citizens desire this city-owned property be transformed into a city park. Below is a template that you can copy and past or adapt into a personal email. This will only take a minute of your time but will have lasting effects on our community and the happiness of our children.

EMAIL TEMPLATE:

To the Fort Lauderdale City Commission,

I am a Fort Lauderdale local and avid proponent of beautifying our city. There has been recent discussion regarding the future of the ‘One Stop Shop’ on Andrews Avenue in Flagler Village, and I feel it is my responsibility to urge you all to consider dedicating the property for the purpose of enhancing our quality of life. A brand new city park in that location will have lasting, positive effects on downtown and become a great addition to Flagler Village.

This is a large and significant remaining green space in the downtown core and is essential for balancing architecture with nature. As the elected leaders of our great city, it should be your duty to protect our natural resources for the enjoyment of our citizens.

Thank you for your time.

— A Concerned Citizen

CITY COMMISSION EMAIL ADDRESSES:

How Our Community Is Keeping Fort Lauderdale Beautiful For Earth Month

[Estimated Read Time: 5 Minutes]

How locals are keeping Fort Lauderdale Beautiful For Earth Month

Happy Earth Month, Fort Lauderdale!

April 2019 is the 49th anniversary of Earth Month and people from all over the world are playing their part to clean up waste and beautify their local areas.

This month’s theme is “Plastic… More Than Pollution,” to focalize global concerns on the damaging effects of single-use plastic waste. In 2018, it was revealed that:

  • Humans buy about 1,000,000 plastic bottles per minute in total.
  • Only about 23% of plastic bottles are recycled within the U.S.
  • More than half a billion plastic straws are used every day around the world.
  • About one trillion single-use plastic bags are used annually around the world.

You can read up on the full page of facts regarding single-use plastic waste here. Suffice to say, you too will see how essential it is that we band together to reduce the prevalence of single-use plastic.

If we are to convince industries worldwide to implement more environmentally conscious materials into their business models then we must first implement these lifestyle changes into our everyday routines. It’s as easy as declining a straw at a restaurant or not ordering your meal to-go.

In addition to Earth Month initiatives, on April 22nd, we will celebrate Earth Day. This year’s theme is “Protect Our Species.” For the most part, we all know about the declining bee populations and the effects that will have on nature in the coming decade. That’s just one core area of concern, however. In the new Netflix show, Our Planet, narrator David Attenborough explains how humanity has wiped out roughly 60% of the global animal population since 1970. Depressing, we know. But extremely important, nonetheless.

The damage that human activity has had on the ecosystem in the last 40 years is a key concern globally. This topic dominates political discussions on climate change and has rallied global activist groups working hard to preserve and nurse animal populations back to their once thriving status.

The “Plastic… More Than Pollution” and the ‘Protect Our Species” initiatives for Earth Month and Earth Day share one central theme: that humanity needs to be more environmentally conscious if we are to reverse the damage inflicted on our planet over the last 4 decades. But what can we do to help on a local level?

Already swaths of neighborhoods are doing their part. On social media, the #trashtag challenge has gone viral, which shows groups of youth, teens, and adults cleaning up trash alongside roadways, inside parks, up and down beaches and anywhere that litter is ruining the landscape. We love this trend. If you do too, keep reading!

Below are 3 easy ways you can get involved in Earth Month and how we can all do our part to save our planet.

1. Recycling

How locals are keeping Fort Lauderdale Beautiful For Earth Month
How locals are keeping Fort Lauderdale beautiful for Earth Month

It’s easy. So why don’t more people participate in daily recycling?

If you live in any of the high-rises, new or old apartment complexes around Fort Lauderdale then chances are they have recycling integrated into the infrastructure. Some have trash chutes specifically designed for recycling. Others put recycling bins on the ground floor (often by the leasing office or first floor of a parking garage). Use them. It’s an easy solution to cutting down on the plastic waste in circulation.

If you do not live in a residential building then you surely know of Fort Lauderdale’s “Mix it. Curb it.” program.

Mix it. Curb it. is the City of Fort Lauderdale’s single-stream recycling program. Single-stream recycling is a process where clean recyclable materials are collected together in one container. This means you can mix steel, aluminum, plastic and glass food and beverage containers, paper, cardboard, and other accepted recyclable materials together without sorting them into separate carts or bins.

Here is a list of all the materials that can be recycled through Mix it. Curb it.:

  • Plastic containers with a narrow neck such as water bottles, milk jugs, shampoo containers, etc.
  • Aseptic/paperboard containers such as juice and wine cartons, drink boxes, milk cartons, frozen food packaging, dry food boxes, etc.
  • Glass food and beverage containers
  • Metal cans and lids
  • Pizza boxes, free of grease spots and food particles
  • Paper (such as junk mail, inserts, newspapers, magazines, catalogs, soft cover books, paper grocery bags), office paper, and any paper that tears
  • Shredded paper in paper bags (not plastic bags)
  • Cut/flattened cardboard no larger than 4 feet x 2 feet

To add Mix it. Curb it. To your household or for more facts on the program, click here.

2. Local Cleanups

How locals are keeping Fort Lauderdale Beautiful For Earth Month
How locals are keeping Fort Lauderdale beautiful for Earth Month

Fort Lauderdale’s waterways and canals are some of the cleanest in the nation because they get regular attention from the community.

If you want to get involved in beach or waterway cleanups there are many outstanding groups doing their part to keep our environment clean.

You can join a local cleanup here. Just select your area and radius and you’re in.

You can join the local Facebook group Beach Sweep, which is a great community initiative that has been keeping our beaches trash-free since 2015.

To everyone who has already been participating: great work!

3. Ecotourism

How locals are keeping Fort Lauderdale beautiful for Earth Month
How locals are keeping Fort Lauderdale beautiful for Earth Month

Turns out we live in a very active city. According to the City of Fort Lauderdale, there are over 100 city parks, green entranceways, public plazas, civic centers and more in the local area. Not to mention our famous beaches, which attract scores of families and outdoor enthusiasts every single day.

Next time you embark on a daily outing to one of our great parks (perhaps for a #trashtag cleanup) consider using Broward Breeze or AvMed — dockless bike sharing programs — or one of the scooter sharing services. Any way we can cut down on carbon emissions and remove cars from our roadways will have a positive effect on our landscape.

We would love to see how you all are getting involved this Earth Month and Earth Day (April 22nd).

How locals are keeping Fort Lauderdale beautiful for Earth Month
How locals are keeping Fort Lauderdale beautiful for Earth Month

Like us on Facebook to share your adventures and inspire others to get involved and clean up our beautiful city.

If you know of any cleanup events planned for April, please leave us a comment here or on Facebook so we can spread the word!

Happy Earth Month!

Fort Lauderdale: A Story In Progress

Exclusive Q&A Event with Fort Lauderdale’s Leading Entrepreneurs.

[Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes 30 Seconds]

Free Business Event In Fort Lauderdale
video

Our city is changing. For the better. And as planned.

All of the positive growth in recent years has transformed Fort Lauderdale into one of the most attractive destinations in South Florida, according to several destination websites in the US.

With the success of the recent Fort Lauderdale Public Safety Bond and Parks Bond, we can also expect some added quality of life support systems as growth continues.

To gain perspective on what our city is capable of becoming, we must look to the past to learn from where it started. Over the last several decades, community leaders discussed, met, and planned for the future to create what many now call home.

For those who are new to Fort Lauderdale, it wasn’t that long ago that Fort Lauderdale was a place designed for retirees and for college kids to spend their spring break. You could count the number of quality restaurants or fun night spots on one hand. For the young professional wanting to start a career or a place to put down roots, Atlanta, New York, and LA were much easier choices.

Except for its fantastic weather, Downtown Fort Lauderdale had very little going on. It was dying and in need of life support.

In Broward County, suburban sprawl was on fire, while downtown was lifeless. In the early 1980’s only one high rise office tower made up the skyline and no one lived in Downtown, no one studied in Downtown, no one went to Broadway shows, no one went to world-class museums, and no one dined or enjoyed a beer in Downtown.

Flagler Village was deteriorated and blighted. Drug deals, prostitution, and crime ruled the landscape.

Free Business Event In Fort Lauderdale
FATVillage has emerged as one of the newest and most stimulated hubs for the arts in Fort Lauderdale.

Fortunately, a driven group of entrepreneurs who grew up and started their careers in Fort Lauderdale acted on their vision.

There was a concerted effort to bring many of the things that made other places great, so Fort Lauderdale and specifically Downtown would be attractive to young people who might choose to stay and participate in a renewed lifestyle and create a thriving cultural scene for the area.

Several of those visionaries are:

  • Tim Petrillo – Co-Founder & CEO, The Restaurant People
  • Alan Hooper – Founder & President, Hooper Construction
  • Robert Lochrie III – Partner, Lochrie & Chakras PA
  • Steve Hudson – President, Hudson Capital Group

20 years ago Fort Lauderdale was in serious need of a makeover.

It was an incremental process that included many of the usual suspects meeting and discussing ways to effectuate positive growth. To create a downtown and beaches that would be one day described as “world class.”

Transformation required a lot of planning, investing and progressive thinking.

These guys did not want to develop Fort Lauderdale for the sake of development or money. They were driven by delivering things what would make Fort Lauderdale fun to live in.

They wanted to make their hometown a place that other people would want to live, visit, work, and play. It was driven by a desire to broaden the quality of life for everyone.

Free Business Event In Fort Lauderdale

That was the turning point.

It is why people want to move here. It is a place that is finally centered around culture, lifestyle, the arts and shared public spaces.

It is why people from all over the world are traveling to Fort Lauderdale and why people from all over the U.S. are migrating here every year.

Join us for our exclusive Q&A event – Fort Lauderdale: A Story In Progress

On Tuesday, April 9th from 7 PM – 9 PM, we are hosting Tim Petrillo, Alan Hooper, Robert Lochrie III, and Steve Hudson for a Q&A to discuss their early business ventures and the future of development in Fort Lauderdale.

It doesn’t matter if you are a realtor, brewer, mural artist, restauranteur, entrepreneur, tech startup, lawyer or anything in between. This is a chance to learn from the guys who have been where you are and have invested their careers into growing downtown businesses and integrating diversity and culture in various ways.

Why is this information so valuable?

First, with all of the changes taking place in downtown Fort Lauderdale and beyond, there comes an opportunity for established and emerging professionals to participate. Learning from those who have “been in your shoes,” is a great starting point.

Secondly, if we are to continue this trend of positive urbanization, young locals need to participate in their future to fulfill a vision that benefits everyone living and working in Broward County. The vision that our panel has acted on, and has proven to benefit everyone, so let’s improve upon that!

Fort Lauderdale: A Story In Progress is a rare opportunity to gain first-hand insights on the history of Fort Lauderdale and how collective decisions gradually initiated a new era of positive change and policy making.

Our panel will also share insights on upcoming ventures and opportunities that will further shape our landscape, so if you have intentions of taking action to make an impact in your community, you won’t want to miss this!

Free Business Event In Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale: A Story In Progress

Event: Networking / Q&A Panel

Date: Tuesday, April 9th from 7 PM – 9 PM

Location: C&I Studios, 541 NW 1st Ave Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

Price: FREE

Free Food provided by local vendors. Craft beer and cocktails available from Next Door at C&I.

RSVP for FREE via Eventbrite to reserve your ticket.

Get The Facts. Know The Vote.

Fort Lauderdale Parks Bond and Public Safety Bond

Spring Break Tips For Fort Lauderdale The Locals

[The Best Info For March 2019 and Beyond]

[Estimated Read Time: 6 Minutes]

Spring Break Tips For Fort Lauderdale Locals

Did you know that Fort Lauderdale is the nation’s 2nd most popular spring break destination?

Before you assume our neighbor to the South took the cake at #1, think again. Miami actually came in at #8.

Can you guess which city ranks numero uno? Hint: it’s the happiest place on earth…

Following the famous 1960s film “Where The Boys Are,” Fort Lauderdale earned a reputation as a college student spring break hotspot. However, today—some 49 years later—the month of March attracts a much more diverse, family-focused group of vacationers.

It is still expected that thousands of families and vacationers will be hitting our shores throughout the month of March, but…now that the days of the rowdy college masses have come to a close, us locals can come out to play, too.

We reached out to FTL natives and members of the BPB community to compile a list of the best Spring Break tips for Fort Lauderdale locals.

That way, we can all get the most fun out of March 2019.

Here are the top spring break tips by the locals for the locals

[below are the best tips for navigating Fort Lauderdale, enjoying the best of our beaches, and getting the most out of your dining experiences.]
Spring Break Tips For Fort Lauderdale Locals

Spring Break Tip #1  — Drawbridge Schedules

First things first, you and every person in town will be flocking to Fort Lauderdale beach. It’s best to know the drawbridge schedule at the 3 main access points so you don’t end up stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic as the sun gradually dips below the horizon.

Sunrise Blvd.—The drawbridge opens on the hour and half-hour. On the first weekend in May, the draw need not open from 4 PM to 6 PM on Saturday and Sunday.

Las Olas Blvd.—The drawbridge opens on the quarter-hour and three-quarter hour. On the first weekend in May, the draw need not open from 4 PM to 6 PM on Saturday and Sunday.

SE 17th St. Causeway Bridge—The draw shall open on the hour and half-hour.

Spring Break Tips For Fort Lauderdale Locals

Spring Break Tip #2 — Travel by Scooter

Look around any street corner and what will you find? That’s right, Lime, Bird, and Bolt scooters.

Now, the last thing you want to do when scootering to the beach is to ride down a busy road like Federal Hwy., Broward Blvd, and Sunrise Blvd. There are much safer [and more scenic] roads to travel.

PRO TIP: If you do choose to ride down one of these busy streets, however, remember that you are allowed to ride on the sidewalk just so long as you yield to pedestrians.

Anyway, after speaking with all of our seasoned scooter enthusiasts, we reached a conclusion on the best [and safest] routes to take to the beach. By the way, these routes are family friendly in most situations. They are safe for young teens so long as they are accompanied by an adult. Just be sure you ride on the right side of the road and obey traffic laws at all times. 🙂

Word of advice: if you have been drinking, order an Uber instead. The beach isn’t so enjoyable with scraped elbows and knees. Or a DUI for that matter! That’s right, drinking and scootering don’t mix in the eyes of the law—doing so, can get you in serious trouble. So probably best to avoid.

UPDATE from the City of Fort Lauderdale: From March 1st – April 7th the following scooter services will be prohibited from crossing beach access bridges. The following routes are still recommended, however, you will need to park your scooter on the sidewalk before the bridge and walk over to the beach.

#1 — Victoria Park: The Best Route To The Beach Via Las Olas

You won’t find a more beautiful neighborhood anywhere in Fort Lauderdale. Every road is abundant with bright, multi-colored Florida foliage, quaint historic houses, and modern architecture. The blend of new and old truly showcases Fort Lauderdale’s rich history and our promising future. Not to mention, every passerby is super nice. Which reminds us, our BPB community agreed there is one rule if you choose to ride through Victoria Park: that you must smile and wave to fellow travelers. 🙂

If you are traveling from west of Federal Highway, cut through Holiday Park for easy access and smooth riding. Fewer cars and more sights are a scooterist’s best friend.

#2 — Coral Ridge: The Best Route To The Beach Via Sunrise Blvd.

Are you traveling North of Sunrise Blvd.? Rent a scooter and buzz through the lovely neighborhood of Coral Ridge. If you’re taking this route to the beach there are a few fantastic local spots to hit before you reach the sand. Grab an organic lunch or freshly squeezed juice from Maya Papaya [right across from Galleria Mall]. Or stop off at Birch State Park for a ride along the intercostal. There is an access tunnel right inside Birch State Park that goes under A1A and leads right to the beach.

Spring Break Tips For Fort Lauderdale Locals

#3 — Rio Vista: The Best Route To The Beach Via 17th Street Causeway

If you are beach-bound via 17th Street Causeway then the neighborhood of Rio Vista is the way to travel. If you are going at your leisure and have time to spare, we highly recommend some sight-seeing. Tucked beneath the Rio Vista canopies are some of the most beautiful [and massive] houses in Fort Lauderdale.

Before you cross the drawbridge hit up Laspadas Original Hoagies—a true local favorite.

Spring Break Tips For Fort Lauderdale Locals

If you are cutting through Rio Vista on your way to the beach via 17th Street Causeway, keep reading!

Below you’ll find details on a hidden stretch of beach only the locals know about.

Spring Break Tips For Fort Lauderdale Locals

Spring Break Tip #3 — Fort Lauderdale’s Best Kept Secret

If you have never enjoyed a day at the Fort Lauderdale Jetties add it to your Spring Break list.

Being at the jetties is like having a private beach all to yourself.

Not only does the coastline stretch on and on, but it is also one of the widest sections of beach in Fort Lauderdale, making it perfect for an afternoon game of beach volleyball or soccer.

If you want a quiet spot to enjoy Spring Break, you won’t find a better place. The Jetties is perfect for families who want to get away from the crowds gathering on Las Olas. It’s no wonder BREW Urban Cafe cited it on their top 6 spots to visit in Fort Lauderdale.

Spring Break Tips For Fort Lauderdale Locals
Spring Break Tips For Fort Lauderdale Locals

Spring Break Tip #4 — Where To Eat

Spring Break in Fort Lauderdale also means that some of our favorite local restaurants and bars are overcrowded to the extreme. The famous waterside restaurant, Coconuts, gets up to a 2-3 hour wait. That’s just crazy!

Here are a few local spots to check out during Spring Break if you want to avoid the swarms of vacationers.

#1 — Boatyard

If you’re leaving Fort Lauderdale beach or heading to the jetties for a sunset stroll, Boatyard is the place for you. Our favorite part of dining at Boatyard is the a-la-carte selection of fresh seafood they wheel around the restaurant all night. You really won’t find that any place else in the area.

#2 — Java & Jam

Located on Las Olas, this newest dining concept by The Restaurant People is ideal for a bite before or after hitting the beach. These guys know Fort Lauderdale best, so you can trust this will become a local favorite before you know it.

#3 — Top Hat Deli

It’s a little further inland [just across the street from the new Dalmar Hotel], but it is one of the best lunch/breakfast spots in town. Word of advice: their plate of hotdogs is crave-worthy.

#4 — Shuck N’ Dive

What’s spring break without a plate of New Orleans style fried shrimp or a crawfish boil? Straight out of Louisiana, this local favorite is our native destination for Cajun cuisine. Yes, they’re dog-friendly on the patio, so be sure to bring the whole family. 🙂

#5 – Lauderdale By The Sea

The perfect place for some Spring Break shopping and fresh seafood.

If you are interested in Spring Break advice in real time, be sure to follow Post Up Fort Lauderdale on Facebook.

This is where us locals share daily adventures and insights on where to grab a drink or a bite to eat. Also, be sure to follow Broward Police Department on social media for live safety updates throughout the month of March.

The Future Of Fort Lauderdale Is Green, Green, Green

[Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes, 30 Seconds]

Fort Lauderdale Parks Bond

Theodore Roosevelt once said,

“The nation behaves well if it treats its natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value.”

In today’s climate of mass urbanization, this notion holds especially true. Cities need to balance ongoing development with lush green spaces. By harmonizing the two, property values of entire neighborhoods increase as does the overall happiness of the people living there.

In some cities, the option to integrate accessible and convenient public parks is out of the people’s control. Residents don’t always get a say in the way city planners approach urban planning. This divide can offset the balance between green space and development, which comes at the expense of the people living there.

Fortunately, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission is putting this decision in the hands of the people.

On March 12, 2019, Fort Lauderdale voters will be asked to vote in favor of a Parks Bond designed to fund our parks system for the next 30 years.

The Parks Bond will generate an estimated $200 million to expand and improve upon our park system, which is the next necessary investment Fort Lauderdale voters need to make to continue improving upon our quality of life.

Your vote is significantly more powerful than you’d imagine—especially in this scenario.

There are roughly 176,000 people living in Fort Lauderdale today. For major elections, like the recent November election in 2018, it is estimated that voter turnout runs between 16,000-19,000 people. For minor ballots, like the upcoming March 12 vote, voter turnout drops significantly to an estimated 3,000 people.

To put that into perspective, on an issue worth up to $200 million, your vote on March 12, 2019, is worth an estimated $153,000!

That’s HUGE! And it’s a major factor you need to consider when deciding whether or not you’re going to turn out and vote because you better believe that the people who oppose park maintenance and expansion certainly will.

If the majority of Fort Lauderdale residents vote “YES” then city planners will have the funds and the guidance to improve our city with outstanding green spaces that everyone can benefit from—especially our children and the generation to follow.

Keep reading to learn the benefits of green space in urban planning and why it is absolutely necessary for the quality of living in Fort Lauderdale.
Fort Lauderdale Parks Bond

Green space must be a key consideration in urban planning if the health of the city and its people are both considered important.

The 2019 Parks Bond will guarantee funding for necessary parks improvements and maintenance, as well as the creation of additional green spaces where commercial and residential development is most dense, such as Flagler Village.

Why is this so important?

Open space in urban environments like Fort Lauderdale provide many advantages.

The most notable are formal and informal sport and recreation, preservation of natural environments, provision of green space, better quality drinking water and even urban stormwater management.

There are numerous health benefits associated with access to public open space and parks, too, such as better perceived general health, reduced stress levels, and reduced depression.

According to the World Health Organization, “Green spaces are important to mental health. Having access to green spaces can reduce health inequalities, improve well-being, and aid in the treatment of mental illness. Some analysis suggests that physical activity in a natural environment can help remedy mild depression and reduce physiological stress indicators.”

Additionally, quality green space increases homeowner property values and attracts new businesses to the area.

According to the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association’s study on the Economic Benefits of Parks, “Homebuyers prefer homes close to parks, open space, and greenery. Proximity to parks increases property value, thereby increasing property tax revenue. Research has shown that property values for houses within 500 feet of a community park increase by approximately 5%, which is a conservative estimate. Furthermore, companies often choose to locate in communities that offer amenities such as parks as a means of attracting and retaining top-level workers.”

In the neighborhood of Flagler Village, where residential and commercial development outweighs public space, the value of new parks will be compounded exponentially.

Fort Lauderdale Parks Bond

New parks will increase the property values of hundreds of residences in the area and continue to attract new businesses pivotal to the economic expansion of the downtown sphere. This is expected. And, by the way, is a huge longterm benefit that will generate additional taxable revenue for our municipality to use on needed services and improvements. 

More importantly, city parks will create safe and beautiful avenues for residents to access neighborhood favorites, like BREW Urban Cafe. And will provide Brightline passengers pedestrian access to key areas of Fort Lauderdale, ultimately connecting Flagler Village to the Riverwalk, Downtown Fort Lauderdale, MASS District, and Las Olas.

There have already been discussions about transforming the “one-stop-shop” on Andrews Avenue—just between FATVillage and the Brightline Station—into a community park. With funding from the Parks Bond, this project could be completed within the first few years.

A “YES” vote on March 12, 2019, could transform this prime [yet unused] piece of real estate into one of the most navigated pathways in Fort Lauderdale overnight.

Flagler Village is just one of the many areas throughout Fort Lauderdale that will benefit greatly by the creation—and improvement—of city parks.

With major projects already outlined for Holiday Park, Joseph Carter Park and more, as well as plans to create a community park over Henry E. Kinney Tunnel atop U.S. 1, and a total renovation of Floyd Hull Stadium between Snyder Park and Lauderdale Memorial Park, it’s safe to say that everyone—especially our kids and the generation to follow—can benefit by voting “YES” on March 12, 2019.

Stop horsing around. It’s time to invest in our parks.

[The value of quality green space and the harmony of the community.]

[Estimated Read Time: 5 Minutes]

Fort Lauderdale Parks Bond

On November 21, the Sun Sentinel reported that the Fort Lauderdale City Commission is formulating a plan to pitch to voters, which aims to generate $200 million in funding for Fort Lauderdale parks.

This funding initiative, which residents will vote for on the March 2019 ballot, will likely be proposed in conjunction with a second proposal, which aims to generate $100 million in funding for a new police headquarters and parking garage. This is planned to be built at the existing site of 1300 W Broward Boulevard.

The City Commission has unanimously embraced the concept of both the $200 million Parks Bond and the $100 million police station bond. The two proposals may be combined into a joint $300 million plan of action.

At the voting booth, all you have to ask yourself is this: “Am I willing to continue investing in my quality of living?”

Fort Lauderdale Park Bonds

If you live or work in downtown Fort Lauderdale, this is a no-brainer.

If your kids play baseball, football, soccer, tennis, or basketball at any of our parks, this is a no-brainer.

If you regularly walk your pup at the park or take the family for picnics, this is a no-brainer.

With all the residential and commercial development in Fort Lauderdale it is sensible to balance our building boom with green spaces.

This holds especially true for Flagler Village — Fort Lauderdale’s burgeoning vertical community where perhaps the most valuable concentration of urban development and redevelopment is taking place.

In a few years time, Flagler Village will become one of Fort Lauderdale’s most prized communities. To fully meet that expectation, however, we, as community leaders, need to invest in the City Commission’s plan to create new parks and improve upon the ones that already make our community such a fantastic place to work, play, visit and live.

We believe the most efficient way to meet this expectation is the conversation of the one-stop shop off Andrews Avenue into a community park, as this has the greatest potential to increase value in the immediate area overnight.

Not only is Flagler Village one of the densest communities, but they also have the fewest parks. In addition to this divide, there is the need to connect the Brightline Station to the core areas of downtown Fort Lauderdale and Flagler Village via walkable spaces. Replacing the one-stop-shop with a park would solve both these challenges.

Not only would this strategy harmonize development with green space and provide an avenue for Brightline commuters to navigate the downtown area. This would both improve our quality of living and subsequently increase property values over time. Research of property values has shown a 5% increase in property value for houses within 500 feet of a park [this is a conservative estimate.] Couple this with Flagler Village’s proximity to the Brightline Station and this area could potentially be the prize of Fort Lauderdale.

Fort Lauderdale Park Bonds

There are many other areas of focus aside from providing funding for the necessary transformation of the one-stop-shop on Andrews Avenue. These include:

Holiday Park, 730 N. Federal Highway:

  • Activity Center Renovations
  • Parking Garage
  • Athletic Field Installation
  • Concession Stand Renovation
  • Gym/Ranger Station Renovation
  • Press Box Renovation
  • Social Center Renovation
  • Tennis Center Renovation
  • Baseball Field Shade Structure
  • Racquetball Addition and Renovation
  • Playground/Surfacing/Shade
  • Solar Panels
  • Site Furnishings
  • Lighting
  • Tennis Court Renovations
  • ADA Improvements

Joseph Carter Park, 1450 W. Sunrise Blvd.:

  • Concession/Pressbox Renovation
  • New Community Center
  • Walking Trail/Outdoor Fitness Equipment
  • Pool Office Renovations
  • Aquatic Complex Renovations
  • Synthetic Turf Replacement
  • Fencing
  • Solar Panels
  • Lighting
  • ADA Improvements
  • Playground/Surfacing/Shade

Bass Park, 2750 NW 19th Street:

  • Pool Building Renovations
  • New Community Center
  • Pool Building Addition
  • Water Playground
  • Solar Panels
  • Basketball Court Shade Structure
  • Playground Replacement
  • Crosswalks
  • Lighting
  • Park Benches
  • On-Street Parking Improvements
  • ADA Improvements

In addition to these major projects, the City Commission seeks to allocate $30 million to purchase open space in areas that don’t have enough parks. And $6 million for a total facility rebuild of Floyd Hull Stadium.

Fort Lauderdale Parks Bond
Fort Lauderdale Parks Bond

City Manager Lee Feldman said, “The city should complete the prominent projects in four to six years, and determine the other improvements by vetting them through city advisory boards so the public would be involved.”

According to Commission Ben Sorenson, the 30-page list of park projects is “very much a living, breathing document. [Which] we are not wedded to in any way.”

The hierarchy of which parks should receive funding and improvement services first is still up to debate. Some Fort Lauderdale residents believe that the overlooked, smaller parks should be renovated before the larger projects so that they don’t go untouched.

As the proposed budget develops and public opinion is taken into consideration a more specific timeline will be presented.

We want to help facilitate that process, so we’d like to hear from all of our readers.

Are you willing to invest in the creation and renovation of Fort Lauderdale Parks? And, if so, which parks would you like to see improved first and for what reasons? Let us know what’s on your minds. Tag us on Facebook and share our blog with your friends to spread the word. With our combined voice, we can ensure that the places that matter most to us are at the forefront of discussion.

Vote yes on the one-penny sales tax to help move people county-wide and preserve a better quality of life.

[2 min 30 sec read time]

Penny Sales Tax Question November 6 Ballot

Broward is in the center of a mega-region. 

Millions of vehicles (many who are not county residents) cross our borders and impact or streets. With 20,000 people moving to Broward annually, our transportation problems are getting worse on a daily basis. Significant public investments are essential to creating a tolerable commute that is quickly evolving into gridlock. 

County-wide mobility is a maze of issues that require serious and immediate attention by people who have invested whole careers managing and studying land planning and transportation solutions.

Broward County has a comprehensive 30-year, multi-billion dollar mobility plan for more efficient roads, synchronized lights, and a variety of rapid public transit options. A plan like this is critical to alleviate our time spent commuting and to maximize our time living. 

It’s a plan that considers sequential planning and incremental implementation that will evolve over the next 30-years along with technology and the open market. Dedicated transportation funding is essential in dealing with an array of unforeseen issues in the future. Just ask the counties to the north and south who have already implemented similar plans.

Penny Sales Tax Question November 6 Ballot
Penny Sales Tax Question November 6 Ballot

How do we pay for all of this? 

On November 6th, you will have a chance to vote to help preserve our quality life through a one-penny increase in sales tax county-wide. Why an increase in sales tax? Because, it is estimated that the tourists, who crowd our roads every winter and shop in our stores, will help share in up to 30% of the cost through their many purchases while on vacation.

Beyond people moving, a plan like this has other positive effects on our everyday lives. These are things that are directly aligned with our community priorities. 

Attracting New Businesses & Attaining High Paying Jobs: Technology and other up and coming businesses look to attract and retain young workforce talent by locating offices within alluring cities that have the whole package. This includes a vibrant downtown with great amenities (like our beaches) and workforce housing stock that is connected via good transportation systems. 

Penny Sales Tax Question November 6 Ballot
Penny Sales Tax Question November 6 Ballot

Cost of Living  

A key component for affordability is reducing the cost to commute to and from work. As defined in the County’s plan, we need to locate linear rapid transit systems along planned corridors of housing and into employment centers. Removing the monthly cost of commuting in a car has a positive impact on the average worker’s cost of living, while also reducing traffic.

Broward County is moving forward with this campaign. We must support their efforts and urge our neighbors to vote yes. If we allow the surtax to fail, then at some point (in the not so distant future), the gridlock will get so bad that it will fall on the county’s general budget to fix the problem. And then the tourists get a pass.