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]
[Estimated Read Time: 5 Minutes]
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.