Fort Lauderdale: A Story In Progress
Exclusive Q&A Event with Fort Lauderdale’s Leading Entrepreneurs.
[Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes 30 Seconds]
[Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes 30 Seconds]
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.
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:
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
Free Food provided by local vendors. Craft beer and cocktails available from Next Door at C&I.
It was so great meeting and speaking with some many engaged members of our community. We had tons of fun at the FATVillage Artwalk and wanted to share some of the pictures we took during the event.
Earlier this year we hosted a Taco Tuesday Townhall get-together with C&I Studios in FATVillage. It was our introduction to the community and the catalyst for our ongoing political discussions. The night was all about free beer, free tacos, and a Q&A with candidates running for office in the Fort Lauderdale City Commission.
It’s been a while but we’re finally heading back to FATVillage for another night of thoughtful conversation… and, as is expected at any weekend gathering, cold beer, and tacos — wait, we mean Chacos… you guessed it, Chinese style tacos. 😉
Have you ever seen the iconic photograph from 1932, “Lunch Atop A Skyscraper,” depicting a group of construction workers eating lunch on a steel beam hanging from the top of a skyscraper? That photograph has been a defining story of New York’s rich history going on 86 years now, which gave us an idea… let’s define this new era of Fort Lauderdale living with an iconic photo of our own.
We wanted to give you a chance to leave your mark on the city and take away a keepsake to look back on later down the road. The city is changing every single day and in 10 years time will look completely different than it does today [If you don’t believe us check out this article on Fort Lauderdale’s Restaurant Renaissance here].
This is also a great opportunity to get to know the people behind Big Picture Broward. Some members of our network will be at the artwalk to talk about local happenings, where to go for Oktoberfest and the International Boat Show, the upcoming midterm elections, and how you can get involved with Big Picture Broward.
If you’re an advocate for community solutions that lead to impactful change then come say “Hey!” We’d really like to meet you. The road to progress is a challenging one, indeed, but we’ve realized it’s much more enjoyable when you have the right group of friends to share in the journey.
Speaking of friends, the C&I team is also doing a really cool art installation in their studio by the bar Next Door during this month’s artwalk. Their interactive exhibit, Voices, takes a strong stance on firearm regulations in the United States by creating a picture of the future should our society continue to ignore the root causes of rising gun violence. It’s a powerful message and something we should all pay attention too.
We’re really excited to make our way back to FATVillage to meet all the people that make our community and our city “the place you’ll never want to leave.”
Our mission is to encourage the future generation of leaders to invest in the development of downtown Fort Lauderdale, by building awareness of, and pride in, the city with positive news and local happenings. We want to inspire other forward-thinking people and groups to take action and get involved in the decisions that will ultimately shape this promising new landscape.
It is important that young, thoughtful people come together to be a part of the political discussions deciding the future of Broward County. The decisions made on a local level are the ones that will impact us most because they decide what the vision of the future may look like.
We need to ensure that our future is planned by motivated, driven, progressive young leaders and not by those opposed to progress.
At the present moment, it may feel like our city and county commissioners only listen to the voice of the older generation. But that is only because those are the forums they are a part of. They hear so much unprogressive speech by such a small vocal minority and believe that that is the consensus throughout Broward County.
We need to show them otherwise.
We may not attend county commission meetings on Friday nights, but that does not mean we are not aware of the conversations taking place — conversations about us and the future of our city. That’s one of the reasons we started Big Picture Broward. We needed to give our community a forum that was geared towards the future.
Taco Tuesday Town Hall was the beginning of this movement.
We set up four chairs in the center of the room for the city commissioners with tables and couches spread around for the guests, which gave the setting a nice personal touch. While the city commissioners arrived, the guests mingled registered to vote and enjoyed some ice cold beers on behalf of C&I Studios.
The forum opened with Dean Trantalis and Bruce Roberts, two city commissioners running for Mayor of Fort Lauderdale. And with Tim Smith and Steve Glassman, two candidates campaigning for a seat on the city commission to represent the second district of Fort Lauderdale.
First, we discussed topics like gun control and safety strategies that should be implemented throughout the community in response to the tragedy in Parkland. All candidates were proponents for stricter gun control laws throughout Florida (and the nation) regarding procurement of weapons and the class of weapons that should be available to members of the public as a means of defense.
Steve Glassman was adamant about the subject and proposed measures as involved as moving the gun show in Holiday Park outside the county. Whereas commissioners, like Bruce Roberts, a retired police officer, talked of implementing stricter laws and more extensive background checks for those looking to acquire a firearm or concealed weapons permit.
The remainder of the discussion was about the upcoming project on The Wave Streetcar. Hearing so much support from members of the community, people who commute to FATVillage for work, and those who live in downtown Fort Lauderdale lent a healthy perspective on the demand for the Wave.
Many young professionals hailed the project as a forward-thinking solution that would greatly benefit Broward County’s future by bringing value to the downtown area and shops on Las Olas, while others described the Wave as a seamless connection to the Brightline Train, and, therefore, West Palm Beach, Miami and (eventually) Orlando.
“It was great seeing the discussion move around the room rather than bounce from commissioners to individual audience members,” said Gonzalo Ballesteros in regards to the guests getting involved in the conversation. “People got involved and voiced themselves, which was the whole point of the Taco Tuesday Town Hall event.”
The night ended with the city commissioners joining the guests for one-on-one conversations over plates of tacos. The whole experience was a constructive, healthy start to showing our elected officials that the young, forward-thinking professionals living and working throughout Broward County do care about the future.
Another event is scheduled for June 2018, so stay informed if you don’t want to risk missing out on free tacos, free beer, and great conversations with your peers. Follow our facebook page for the latest Big Picture Broward happenings, and other local events popping up throughout the community.
Be sure to register to vote and keep an eye out for the Wave Streetcar Project. Our combined support will go a long way in guiding Fort Lauderdale and the whole of Broward County towards the future.