What The New Stadium Means For Oakland Park
Since 2013 David Beckham and his partners have planned to open a professional soccer franchise, Inter Miami CF, in 2020. In working toward that goal, over the years, the franchise has presented plans to the City of Miami to develop Miami Freedom Park. But the approval process has experienced several delays and has left Inter Miami CF, just months before its inaugural season, stadiumless.
Sensing the delays might force them to delay the team’s inaugural season, the franchise turned toward Fort Lauderdale for a temporary solution. On January 28, 2019 the City of Fort Lauderdale received an unsolicited offer to redevelop the Lockhart stadium area into Inter Miami’s training facility and temporary home base for 2 years. Fort Lauderdale approved the plans and on April 2019 the franchise was given the go ahead. Demolition of Lockhart stadium began 1 month later and construction is now fully underway.
The 64-acre property will include an 18,000-seat professional soccer stadium, training facility with practice fields, parking, a soccer field for high school teams, a community center, multi-purpose fields, kickball field, walking trail, playgrounds, splash pad/aquatics playground, open space, dog park, parking and a festival plaza.
The property, while not located in Oakland Park is less than one-half mile away from the City’s northwestern limit. The proximity means that the impact of the new stadium will be felt in Oakland Park.
On October 2, 2019, Commissioner Jane Bolin noted her concern asked if the City could delve further into the issue. To that end Vice Mayor Matthew Sparks requested that a representative from the City of Fort Lauderdale “present the plans and discuss with the Commission any potential impacts/concerns of the City of Oakland Park“.
Impact and Concern Areas for Oakland Park
The impact and concern areas for the City of Oakland Park include traffic, Fire Rescue and Police resources, the shared us of the site, and economic development of the area.
Chris Lagerbloom the City Manager for Fort Lauderdale came to the November 6, 2019 Commission meeting to explain how the new stadium would affect Oakland Park.
The influx of traffic to the stadium area is one of the major areas of concern for Oakland Park. Lagerbloom noted he was aware of this concern and shared that “…we are working through the transit plans“. The City of Fort Lauderdale has started to consider how to integrate BCT, Tri-Rail and Brightline and how to control traffic patterns. Lagerbloom shares that they are working on predicting traffic patterns at the moment but also concedes that “we have to have traffic patterns happen so we can model and adjust“. On the issue of traffic concerns Lagerbloom concluded by affirming that “… we have the interest of Oakland Park [in mind], being our neighbors, and we want to be good neighbors“.
Fire Rescue and Police Resources
According to Lagerbloom the City of Fort Lauderdale would commit its own personnel to events at the new stadium. Fire Rescue and Police personnel that are off-duty would be hired to complete details at the 34 different games Inter Miami will host over the next two years. Lagerbloom said that the City of Fort Lauderdale uses this same model for other events and because they have the personnel, they would implement the same model at Lockhart.
Shared Use of Site
Everything south of the stadium site will be public space according to Lagerbloom. No specific guidelines have been set forth for the City of Oakland Park to use the public facilities. Lagerbloom did however assure the Commission that it was just a matter of working out the details for shared use.
There are no plans for any specific economic development around the stadium at this time. However, Lagerbloom, did note that when the City of Fort Lauderdale studied a similar stadium model in Atlanta they noticed that the area around the new stadium did develop accordingly.
Change is Imminent in Oakland Park
The stadium is not in Oakland Park but close enough that change in Oakland Park is imminent. Whether these changes are positive or negative remain to be seen.
Inter Miami CF intends to inaugurate the stadium in mid-March and when the games begin is when Oakland Parkers will be able to make a better assessment of the type of change the stadium will bring.
Let us know in the comments what you think about the new Lockhart stadium and the its facilities complex.
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About the Author
Désirée Ávila has called Oakland Park her home for over 31 years. In addition to publishing LivingInOaklandPark.com , Désirée publishes three other blogs and 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 and to helping others with their real estate endeavors through education. Désirée is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian.