Mayor Cooper's State of the City 2015 Part I
First of a three part series
Reflecting on 2014 and the City’s Progress
The end of the year is a great time to reflect on the past year and look forward to a bright future for our city. Our commission has always reached out to our residents through our strategic plan and this year we will be doing the same. Every other year we conduct a citizen survey and then we do a business survey. Through the process you help to plan our future. By sharing your observations and sharing your needs as residents we can move Hallandale Beach forward. Through your needs we set goals and a budget for our city.
Flooding in the NE Addressed
This past year we have completed many projects. The largest was addressing the flooding on Hallandale Beach Boulevard and within the northeast area. Lanzo is still finishing punch list items on the NE Drainage Project. This contractor has been behind schedule for months. They still need to address specific obligations under their contract. These include sprinkler systems that were damaged and other private property issues. The good news is they are done the major portions of the project. I have been receiving many questions about landscaping and the rest of the asphalt and parking work on 14th which is being performed by the city.
The landscaping plan is being prepared by the city and a landscape architect firm. Many of the old trees that were planted years ago under power lines had to be removed . These types of large canopy trees are no longer permitted at these locations for obvious reasons. We want to make sure that we provide a robust plan while remaining sensitive to resiliency issues when it comes to power lines. We will be conducting a meeting with area residents next month to review the proposed plan. Originally this meeting was to be before the holiday but we wanted to make sure all residents’ could be available.
New Parks and More on the Way
The other major milestones we have completed are two brand new parks. Some residents have not even had the chance to see these parks. I invite everyone to visit Joe Scavo Park on Three Islands Boulevard. There are great amenities including work out stations. You may be able to reach your New Year’s resolutions right here in our city. If you do not want to work out you can simply enjoy a wonderful walk, shoot some hoops, walk your dog or have your children enjoy a new playground.
The other park is BF James Park located on 101 NW 9th Street. This park includes a brand new community pool. It is a beautiful setting with lockers and a sun deck. The pool is also fully handicap accessible. The pool has no steps so no matter what you level of swimmer you are you can enjoy this pool. Also you can walk around the park, shoot hoops our watch your kids enjoy the playground. These two parks have been the buzz of not just our city but around South Florida.
Pegasus Park- Putting Hallandale Beach on the Map Once Again
Gulfstream Park began the construction of Pegasus Park this year. This park began in the spring and as it grew from the ground up it has been the buzz of not only our city but everywhere. I have met so many people that have asked; what is it? Is it a water park? What is going to be located in the building underneath? What is the meaning? Why build it at all? Was it approved by the city?
The Pegasus is the vision of one man and an artist. Frank Stronach owner of Gulfstream Park explained he wanted to share his love of horses. Mr. Frank Stronach has a passion for horses and owns multiple tracks throughout the country. He also owns Palm Meadows a training facility in Wellington, FL and his own working ranch in Florida. He is creating a water themed “park area” around the Pegasus for everyone to enjoy.
He wanted to make a statement and that he did.” We are here and want to share the beauty of Thoroughbred Racing”. He wants to create a family entertainment center while supporting and growing the horse industry. It has once again put our city in the spotlight.
I have answered the first question. It is a piece of art that has been transformed into a 200 foot building. It is not planned to be a theme ride but a park. The space below was originally to be a 360 degree theater as to date is still considered an attraction. The meaning of the art is to show strength of good over evil. The reason why it was build it is explained by the vision of Mr. Stronach. He is marketing Gulfstream Park and an entire industry internationally. Why? The short answer is because he could.
That brings us to the last question was it approved? Yes it was on a 5-0 vote. The building is a building. The structure had to meet all of South Florida building codes. It is a use compatible to the race track even though it is highly unusual. As part of the approval process they had to complete the development agreement for planned impacts just as every other development. They do have to pay taxes and all other impacts.
Blueprint Set For Future Development
Development issues are always a concern of every community. Over the past year we approved Form Based Codes within our major corridors as part of our RAC Zoning, Regional Activity Center Zoning. Federal Highway, Dixie Corridor, Pembroke Road and Foster Road all have a planned design guidelines. This means that residents within those areas will know what to expect and property owners and investors understand what our community expects to see developed in those areas.
Tax Rate Lowered- And Fees Remain at the Same Rate
The most important news for 2014 is we lowered your tax rate while meeting your goals. We kept our city services at the same level and increased them in some areas according to your goals. We are planning for the future needs that you have asked for. The best news for our city is you the residents and voters of Hallandale Beach have set the course for our city parks. Over the next six years our city will have a brand new word class parks systems.
The next question is what will be in store for 2015? We do have a strategic plan and the next steps will be to reevaluate the plan for the next year. You are an important part of the process. Our 2015 budget and vision process will start in January.
(Next article I will review the goals set in the plan.)
As always please feel free to contact me any time with you questions concerns and ideas on how to make our city a better place at ofiice954-457-1318, cell/text 954-632-5700or visit my website at www.mayorjoycooper.com