By Mayor Joy Cooper
HALLANDALE BEACH -
City Hosts Outstanding BF James Park Grand Opening Ad Parks Department Continues To Shine In The Spotlight
The city hosted a wonderful BF James Park grand opening on Saturday. Under the leadership of Director Cathie Schanz, the Parks Department in partnership with the “One Hallandale” Committee and organized a celebration that was exciting entertaining and most importantly inclusive. The Teen Zone students put on, was a wonderful act with the singing of a song that was created by them in honor of our city. There were prayers offered in honor of our past, present and future. Poems read and stories told of the rich history of the Park and the original pool. Many local vendors served food and drinks and we all danced to Junkanoo!
Mr. BF James was a teacher and principal at the African American School on the BF James site when the system was segregated. I spoke about the irony that this park was being dedicated the same month we are recognizing the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. It was not planned that way but it was an important message to remind everyone, young and old that our goal is still working to make our city “One Hallandale” where everyone has equal access to services and amenities.
Our entire city staff did an amazing job on managing the park project and Burkhart built another great park on schedule and under budget. The park was a few weeks’ early and $30,000 dollars was given back to our city. Once again, there is still more than simply guarding and saving taxpayers’ dollars we want to keep our dollars in our city. With our Community Benefit Program, CBP .52 percent of all dollars spent on the park were kept in our community. That is over $2.5 million dollars going to local workers, contactors, subcontractors and vendors. If you own a business in our city or are a homesteaded resident in our city and own your own business, you need to make sure you register your business with us. We give preference to you when we buy goods and services.
This park is the 2nd in our Parks Master Plan. The beach parks are under construction and are anticipated to be open in December and early January. I apologize in behalf of the city for any inconveniences that our residents and beach goers are having due to construction. The parks are open, it is just that south beach park will have no amenities or parking until the completion. North beach has parking and bathrooms. This is all for safety and health reasons. Our lifeguards are all on duty and our beaches will remain open.
Parks are a vital component of our community. Many residents have wanted our parks upgraded so we embarked on the development our Parks Master Plan. This plan is not the commissions but it is your plan that was created through months of community forums and workshops. As a result of those plans, we have utilized your taxpayer dollars on three parks and will have four parks completed. There are other parks that need to be done but they will not be done at todays’ costs and within six years without voter approval.
The decision will, do you want to “play it forward”? The parks can be done with a Government Obligation Bond. The GO Parks Bond will provide that the city can borrow money at today’s rates and pay it back through debt service. This is like taking a mortgage to buy a home. Parks are for everyone. We want them to be world class like many of the voters have told us over the past years. If the bond does not pass, it would take over twenty years. As a city, we cannot advocate but we can educate. We have had staff put together information that can help you decide. www.gohallandaleparks.com.
There is really something for everyone in our plan. Brand new Bluesten Park completed with competition swimming pool, interactive water features, indoor fitness recreation center, regulation soccer and basketball. A new state-of-the-art tennis center with clay and paved courts at Golden Isles Tennis Center. New Golden Isles Park with all brand new equipment and amenities. New Kayak and Paddle Board rentals at Chaves Lake. In addition, all of the other parks: Sunrise, Sunset and Ingalls will get a face lift too!
Most importantly, it is a proven fact that access to parks help keep us healthy! Parks help our environment stay healthy too! Green trees, open space and energy efficient buildings. In the end we also save green! Parks also increase property values. This strengthens our community and helps us save you money. Visit www.gohallandalepark.com and find out the facts.
As always feel free to reach out to me with your questions, concerns and ideas to make our city a better place. I can be reached at my office number: (954) 457-1318. You can call or text me on my cell at: (954) 632-5700. Or you can visit my web-site at: www.mayorjoycooper.com.