The Future Of Fort Lauderdale Is Green, Green, Green
[Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes, 30 Seconds]
[Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes, 30 Seconds]
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.
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.
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?
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.”
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.
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.
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.