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Oakland Park Winner Apparent of Commuter Rail Stop

The City of Oakland Park’s slogan is “A City on the Move”. This past week the City lived up to its name making two moves that will launch the City into its next century.

The first major move was announced on August 3rd, when the City sent out a press release soliciting Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the redevelopment of six City owned acres in the heart of Downtown itself.  The RFQ is in line with the City’s vision of modernizing and re-envisioning Oakland Park in a new and modern way and with a look and feel all its own.

The second major move was announced this week at the August 4th Commission meeting.  Assistant City Manager, Jennifer Frastai,  announced that after many years of preparation, on July 29th 2021,  the City received the news that the Florida Department of Transportation was going to recommend Oakland Park as a future commuter rail stop.

This made Oakland Park the winner apparent of a friendly competition between itself and Wilton Manors for the rail stop. According to Frastai, the FDOT will make the official announcement in the next couple of months. 

The WilM.O Park Station

The choice of Oakland Park as a commuter rail stop was not a given. As mentioned above it had been competing with Wilton Manors for the rail stop. In order to earn the FDOT’s recommendation the City worked for many years making the needed changes in order to show the FDOT that Oakland Park was committed to doing what was necessary in order to accommodate the train station.

Wilton Manors Mayor Scott Newton in an opinion piece published in the Sun Sentinel on June 9, 2021 advocated for cities to work together and highlighted why Wilton Manors should be chosen. In response to Mayor Newton, Oakland Park City Manager, David Hebert submitted his opinion entitled “A tale of two cities competing for a commuter rail“.

Hebert highlighted why Oakland Park should be chosen, citing the many festivals which the City hosts throughout the year and the fact that “Oakland Park has access to east-west highways and plans to expand multi-modal transportation in and around downtown. Access will be a challenge for Wilton Manors…Oakland Park owns land where the train stop could best serve the citizens of both cities. ” (Hebert, 2021). 

As a nod to its sister city, Hebert concluded his opinion piece by sharing that stop would be branded as WilM.O Park. “We even put Wilton Manors first. That’s the spirit of cooperation — and of Oakland Park”.

Reactions from the Community

The unofficial announcement of Oakland Park winning the rail stop competition drew mixed reactions from the City’s stakeholders. 

"I am excited to hear about the County’s decision to recommend Oakland Park for a train platform! Although this is only one step in a process and not a guarantee, let’s thank our staff who have been innovative and responsive. There is no doubt that a train stop in Oakland Park will be game changer for our city!"

Jane Bolin, Mayor of Oakland Park Tweet
Dr. Jack Doren, who has served on boards in the City of Oakland Park for many years, echoed a similar sentiment :

"I’m thrilled. This has been years in the making. This will be a major economic boon for our City. It will provide foot traffic for small businesses, support smart development, and increase residential property values. It will put Oakland Park on the map - literally."

One of the proposed locations is highlighted in the bottom left corner of the image, right next to Funky Buddha.
Other residents expressed concern :

"Why not let Wilton Manors have the rail stop, along with the taxes it requires for security and maintanence [sic]. And yet the City has no plans to build a bridge across Dixie Hwy & the rail stop for pedestrian safety?
I understand progress, but common sense and caring about current residents would be strong values to lead with, rather than being blinded by dollar signs."

Christopher Fischer, Oakland Park Resident Tweet

I’m with you. Let WM have it. Lol. Looks like a jail. Sorry.
To be fair. I understand renderings are very rough and change... I’m just hoping this cold vision isn’t what is in store OP. We love our greenery and open spaces and windows etc. hopefully this will evolve.

Rhiannon Rose Samoyedny, Oakland Park Resident Tweet

Samoyedny’s concern about the look of the building was actually referring to a rendering in the article about the request for RFQs by the City to develop the downtown area.  What the station and downtown will actually look like is still in the works. Nevertheless, she makes a valid point about Oakland Parkers love for their green spaces.

In the past, when considering the approval of development projects,  the City has taken green spaces into consideration and worked with developers to insure their inclusion. If the past is an indicator of what the future holds then there is a good chance the City will take them into account in both the train platform and Downtown OP development project.

Perfect Timing

The decision to recommend Oakland Park is just one step in the process it will take to complete the train station. After the official announcement, Frastai shared that it should be another year before an engineering analysis is completed to determine exactly where the rail stop will be.  The timing couldn’t be better according Frastai as the one year mark will coincide with when the City will be considering the RFQ’s for the redevelopment of Downtown OP.

Sources: 

Hebert, D. (2021, June 12). A tale of two cities competing for a Commuter RAIL: Letters to the editor. sun. https://www.sun-sentinel.com/opinion/letters/fl-op-letters-wilton-manors-oakland-park-commuter-rail-20210612-jjwf6bkuozfx5esns7gxs5wjt4-story.html.

 

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

Desiree Avila

EDITOR, PUBLISHER, WRITER, PHOTOGRAPHER, REALTOR®

Désirée Ávila has called Oakland Park her home for over 33 years. In addition to publishing LivingInOaklandPark.com, 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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