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CRA Launch: The Dawn of a New Era in Downtown Oakland Park

On October 3, 2019 the City of Oakland Park demolished the obsolete water treatment plant. At that moment that the City set in motion its plan to revitalize and renew itself for its second century. Since then the signs of change have been everywhere.

If you live in Oakland Park, you see construction happening from the new Oak Tree Estates development on the west end to the new City Hall on the east end. If you read the City’s publications or are tuned into social media channels Oakland Park’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) has been making steady strides toward introducing the changes to come to the City’s stakeholders. 

On the morning of Tuesday October 22 the CRA hosted the CRA launch breakfast which they invited the public to attend. “Don’t miss your chance to be a part of Oakland Park’s growth! We’ll be sharing some of the city’s brand new initiatives and exciting updates“.

This event, like the ceremonial demolition, marked a historical moment in the history of the City: The dawn of a new era in downtown Oakland Park. 

CRA Launch Party

Brad Ostroff, the City’s Assistant Director of Operations and Administration, led the launch party. He first thanked Kaitlyn Collier, External Relations and Communications Specialist for the City and thanked her for putting together the event. After her introduction Kamila, the owner of one of Oakland Park’s newest business, Oakland Coffee and Juice Bar, introduced herself and spoke about her business.

As the mic went around the room it was clear that the attendees represented present and future business owners in Oakland Park as well as other important stakeholders in the City’s future. 

Future business owners included Mikaela Barnes from the Non-Dairy Fairy, Pat Little from the Butcher’s Barrel, Dean Sirulnik of a new, yet unamed downtown bar and restaurant, and Dan Vawter and Mary Kilpatrick Johnson of Aquachamps Swim School to name a few. Larissa Castelluber of Design Moves Oakland Park also announced her new venture in Downtown.  

Nadia Lakhani of Minuteman Press and Mary Kilpatrick Jackson and Dan Vawter of AquaChamps Swim School.

Present business owners included Bill Feinberg of Allied Kitchen and Bath, Joe Martins from Switchbox Coffee Roasters and Pia Dahlquist, Marketing Manager for Oakland Park’s oldest restaurant, the Mai Kai Restaurant, Anja Weinberg, Oakland Park resident and owner of a Place for Healing in Wilton Manors, Chelsea Henning, local aromatherapist, Angela Rush from Art in Oakland Park, Nadia Lakhani of Minuteman Press and many, many others! 

From left to right: Desiree Castellon of Champions World Boxing & Fitness, Nadia Lakhani from Minuteman Press, Angela Rush from Art in Oakland Park, Joella Rush, the mini in the chair, Oakland Park City Commissioner Jane Bolin, Chelsea Henning from Essentially Mrs. Henning and Anja Weinberg from a Place for Healing.

Other stakeholders included  Dr. Mitch Rosenwald, Oakland Park resident and found of the Neighborhood Coalition of Oakland Park, City Commissioners Jane Bolin, Michael Carn and Tim Lonergan, as well as other key City employees. 

From left to right: Oakland Park City Commissioner Tim Lonergan and Oakland Park City Commissioner Michael Carn

After the introduction of stakeholders, attendees watched different presentations about the future of Downtown Oakland Park. Presentations included the 2019 Mid-Year Market Report of the CRA, an introduction to the new CRA website, the CRA social media launch, and the introduction of the new business concierge services. 

The new business concierge services will help new and existing business owners open and run their new business. With the introduction of the business concierge services, the The City showed their determination not only to redeveloping the City’s looks but its core too. 

At the end of the presentations it was clear, that after the redevelopment of the City’s downtown area, Oakland Park will be entering a new era. 

Oakland Park’s new CRA website is dedicated to bringing businesses to Oakland Park and helping them grow.

If you were unable to attend, check out the video of the event here

Be a part of Oakland Park online!

* is an independent publication, not affiliated with the City of Oakland Park.

Desiree Avila


Désirée Ávila has called Oakland Park her home for over 33 years. In addition to publishing, Désirée has been featured in print publications, locally and abroad. Désirée was an award winning teacher for 10 years and has a doctoral level education in Educational Technology. She is currently a licensed Florida Realtor® and is committed to a high-level of professionalism.

Désirée consistently professionally develops herself and has earned several different professional designations and certifications in real estate including the PSA, e-Pro, AHWD, SRS, ABR, and SFR. She was also awarded the C2EX, Commitment to Excellence award by the National Association for Realtors (NAR). This award is given to Realtors® that distinguish themselves for their commitment to excellence in the real estate industry.

She is esteemed by her real estate colleagues and has consistently received 5 star reviews from her clients. Her philosophy about real estate is that being a Realtor® is a way of teaching and helping people, and in the process a real estate transaction may occur, that is to say her foremost priority is and has always been about helping others.

She is dedicated to her hometown of Oakland Park and works consistently on building and fostering a strong community. She is passionate about photography and loves to read books about history ; the more detail the better! In addition to English, Désirée is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian.

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