Oakland Park’s third neighborhood coalition meeting was held at Jaco Pastorius Park Community Center on January 13, 2020. The Oakland Park Neighborhood Coalition was formed by Oakland Park resident, Mitch Rosenwald who felt that in the time of Oakland Park’s growth, it was important for the various neighborhood associations and leaders to come together as a unified voice on relevant city issues. The coalition while founded around neighborhood associations welcomes any resident of Oakland Park to its meetings.
Meetings are held quarterly and are based on relevant city topics such as town safety, traffic concerns, residential and commercial development. Key points taken from the meetings are collected and analyzed by the steering committee and compiled into a survey where members are then asked to focus on these topics more in-depth. From there, it is determined if the data collected would need further public education or advocacy from the community or if this information should be presented to the proper channels, such as city commissioners, FDOT, etc.
The focus of the January meeting was promoting a safer Oakland Park. Representatives from Broward Sherriff’s Office joined the meeting to discuss the City’s current crime rates, programs and to address any citizen concerns and questions. Broward Sherriff’s office Deputy Charles Howard, of the Neighborhood Response Team; BSO School Resource Officer, Omar Osbourne, From Rickards Middle School; and Coby King, Neighborhood Support Specialist from the BSO Department of Community Services, were in attendance.
The deputies began with a brief overview of Sheriff Gregory Tony’s current initiatives, which include expansion and continuing training and education in school safety, active shooter and basic tactical medical response training. The most current Oakland Park crime report was also reviewed, showing most major crimes on a downward trend in Oakland Park.
The deputies then went on to explain the various community outreach programs available for the youth of Oakland Park, such as the Explorers program and various mentorships programs that have been initiated recently in Oakland Park. Team building and cadet programs for youth at various community events were also discussed.
The meeting concluded with a brainstorming and Q&A session. Various safety topics were discussed, such a possible helicopter notification system, which would inform residents of a real-time event in their area and further instruction on what to do when a helicopter is overhead. Currently, there are apps available such as Nextdoor and Ring, which do not always provide accurate information. While it is difficult for deputies to relay real-time helicopter updates while a crime or emergency is being committed, the deputies agreed that some form of real-time communication may help keep residents safe and informed.
Deputy Howard then discussed how BSO strategizes with CPTED – Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design – which assists new and current businesses in best practices for safety and securing a property. BSO meets with future and current business owners to implement proactive and reactive measures that will deter and avoid future criminal behavior. Suggestions such as using bright LED lighting, trimmed hedges, and constructing balconies that face parking lots in a future residential building are strongly suggested to deter crime as part of the building process or reduce and eliminate crimes that are occurring at existing properties.
Another topic discussed was traffic. With new medians and properties being constructed, new and detoured traffic flows are a burgeoning concern for many residents, which can ultimately affect crime and accidents in the area. Traffic will be the main topic of the next coalition meeting which will be held Monday, April 13th from 6:00-8:00 pm at the Jaco Pastorius Park Community Center.
The coalition consists of members from various subdivisions such as Royal Palm Acres, Harlem McBride, Sleepy River Acres, North Andrews Gardens, The Corals, Garden Acres, and other Oakland Park residents and stakeholders. There truly are strength-in-numbers and engaged citizens are encouraged to join. For more information on previous and upcoming Neighborhood Coalition of Oakland Park events, please contact Mitch Rosenwald, President at [email protected] Oakland Park residents can join for $10.00 per calendar year.
Rhiannon Samoyedny was born and raised in South Florida. She has lived in Oakland Park for over 25 years and purchased her home in Garden Acres in 2012 where she resides with her husband, two teenaged boys, a few rescue cats, and her dog.
Her professional career began as a project manager and estimator for a small Oakland Park construction company and she later went on to earn her degree in Court Reporting, where she later incorporated her own small business RS Reporting, Inc.
She has a passion for gardening and attends many horticulture classes and workshops. She is also an LGA (Local Government Academy) graduate, class of 2019, and an active community volunteer and activist. You can usually find her around town at various Oakland Park meetings and events with her notebook, so be sure to say hello.