Plans to modernize the City of Oakland Park for its second century have been in the works for over a decade. Modernizing required additional funding so the City asked voters to approve a $40 million dollar bond. Seventy percent (70%) of residents approved the bond in November 2018. With this overwhelmingly majority approval, the City poised itself to begin implementing its plan to build its second century.
The execution of the plan began with the ceremonial demolition of the City’s obsolete water plant. Next came the CRA Launch which introduced a new strategy for attracting and helping business thrive in Oakland Park. And this past Wednesday the City invited Oakland Park residents to join in a discussion and to take a peek into the City’s future.
Bond Implementation Process Explained
The City began the presentation by giving an overview of the project and its phases. Andrew Thompson, finance director for the City, summarized the plan for modernization of the City. The plan is guided by four major principles:
- Maintain continuity of City Services;
- Maximize Value and Utilize Resources Judiciously;
- Optimize Opportunities;
- Consistency with Strategic Image and Vision of the City.
The rollout of the plan will be conducted in 3 phases over the next 10 years. The first phase of the plan began this year with the community engagement, commission direction and development plan.
The next phase, Phase 2, will take place over the next 2-3 years. Phase 2 involves the implementation plan and timeline, preparation of bid documents, bid awards by commission and the beginning of construction.
Phase 3, the final phase will last through 2029 and includes the completion of construction projects.
Oakland Parkers Peek Into The City's Future
The City has hired Zyscovich Architects to help design its future. According to Jennifer Frastai, the City’s Community and Economic Development director Zyscovich was hired “… to make sure we brought on a firm that could understand Oakland Park and create design guidelines… that when you walk into the park or see the facility you feel like you are in Oakland Park“.
Zyscovich, which is headquartered in Miami, has designed urban landscapes all around the world. Some of their latest projects and the ones closest to home that you can visit include the new Downtown Miami, Bayfront Park, Mana Wynwood Special Area, and Aventura Park Square. Below are some examples of Zyscovich’s local projects.
With this idea in mind, Grace Perdomo from Zyscovich presented the guiding principles behind the design of the City’s 20 acre City Park area. Four in total, the guiding principles are:
- To work with the native landscape elements
- Create public areas and gathering spaces that promote the sense of community and inclusivity which characterize the City of Oakland Park
- Support arts and culture
- Increase mobility options
While the exact design of the new City Park has not yet been created, the goal is to create a new urban landscape that is unique to Oakland Park. “We want to be able to incorporate and define details of design that define Oakland Park’s character“, Perdomo shared.
City Stakeholders Share Their Thoughts
After Perdomo concluded her presentation, the City’s stakeholders had an opportunity to share their thoughts. Some of the first concerns raised were regarding park facilities. David Hebert, Oakland Park City Manager, then took the opportunity to clarify that the bond was designated for facilities only and not the parks.
Dr. Mitch Rosenwald, Professor of Social Work at Barry University and Oakland Park Resident, proposed the City consider having a standalone senior center. Leading off of previous comments regarding park facilities, Rosenwald also asked if Hebert could help stakeholders understand the parameters between green space in the new facilities and parks. Hebert responded that the City’s bond counsel and City attorney would help define those parameters more clearly as the was plan rolled out.
Other, younger residents, spoke about the need to provide spaces that were relevant to the younger generation. Hebert clarified that this was the purpose of the City wide dialogue, to understand how to best build a City that would suit all its residents.
One East Side Village resident began his commentary by saying “I love the idea and concept of making it clear you are in Oakland Park“. He then brought up three points for consideration:
- Creating City facilities that would generate revenue and maintain themselves.
- Building a City Park area with the design guidelines that would match the new downtown.
- Defining style guidelines for new developments so that they are in tune with the new look of the City.
Have Your Say In The City's Future
The City will continue to hold meetings in which residents can share their thoughts about how to design the City’s future. To be one of the first to know about City wide meetings in the future, join the Living In Oakland Park Facebook Group and sign up for our newsletter.