When it comes to any community that we cover, I take pride in the fact that I can brag to others across South Florida that the area we live in is one of the best and most progressive around.
I also am quick to point out, when things that I perceive will stand in the way of progressive or positives, in the best interest of a city. That is called balance.
No community anywhere in the country will run exactly how everyone dreams. There are far too many political channels to sift through for that to ever happen. However, there is a way to continue to point out things that could hinder growth or leave that bad taste in everyone's mouth.
When it comes to getting things done - opening up for progressive development and doing what's best for the community, this Hallandale Beach administration has always been proactive in making this area a destination - instead of just a city to pass through on the way to Hollywood or Aventura.
That's why when I continued to pass by the old city hall location on South Dixie Highway and 3rd St., and see this travesty and eyesore of a plot of land, being overrun with greenery, shrubs, trees and decay, it makes no sense.
Over a year ago, I devoted a front page BOLD HEADLINE column that read: "EYESORE!" I couldn't believe that the city would allow this property - which legally was not theirs - to hamper whatever charm this legendary city had. It was one of those things that had gone on long enough.
That one piece of real estate was actually ushering visitors into our historic area that featured the Curci and Moffett homes as well as the fire station, which was built right into the neighborhood. I have to believe that this facility has been counter-productive to the historic part of Hallandale Beach.
After finding out that the courts were battling over the current owners of the property, it seemed to me that this was something that we would have to sweep under the rug. It frankly was not important enough for the City of Hallandale Beach to put the legal hammer in process and do something about that land that has done nothing but bring the value of other property down.
Over the past year, I have passed by that location at least five times a week. I take a quick look, see the land overrun again with crap - and continue going about my day. While I will always take exception to the fact that this important tract of land is essential to make the community a complete city - with a historical district - I will never go crazy like I did initially.
What I found out after my first rant is very few people care. That to me is sad. Most within the structure of Hallandale Beach do not have a clue how important the creation of a true "Historic" area is to any city. I, for one, after traveling around this country many times, believe in remembering the foundation.
Last week, I passed by the facility - and to my surprise (well not actually) there were trucks and machines, clearing the land once again. I kind of felt that it was just the city again, trying to clean up what they could. I was wrong. It was much better!
"It's an unsafe structure and it's time for the owners to have this property cleared and sodded," Mayor Joy Cooper said. "Enough is enough. We have had this going on for well over a decade and it's time to look out for our city and what we need to move forward."
Mayor Cooper is 100 percent correct. While Hallandale Beach doesn't own the property, it has done enough to let the owners know that the current building is unsafe and is a hazard to anyone who jumps the weak chain link fence.
While I cannot speak for other projects or various things going on around the city, I can honestly about tell you about this one. I have questioned what this once bustling chunk of real estate would become. I knew that if you were going to create a historic area that you would have to use this parcel of land to attract visitors.
If the city can go after the property as an unsafe structure, the owners will have no other option than to tear it down and maintain - to code - what the city sets for all undeveloped real estate.
There are has been mention of a potential land swap, where the fire station could be rebuilt up front and the property shifted toward the back. I guess that is an okay idea, but I would emission more of something that would tie that block together as a historic area. Having the fire station as part of the equation is great, but I am sure there are developers who would love a crack at the chance to put something progressive on that corner.
Anyway you slice it, the time has come for this piece of land to finally become an attraction rather than something you avoid. Like many who live and work in the city who really do care, here is hoping that everything falls into place - soon!
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