Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. Great thoughts converted to practice will become great accomplishments. The great accomplishments of the world have been achieved by those who had high ideals and who have received great visions. The path is not easy, the climbing is rugged and hard, but the glory at the end is worthwhile. This month I decided to focus on the accomplishments of our city. With the help of our City Manager, listed below is a compilation of the things that are helping to move West Park in progressive direction of a better future.
- Acquired Water Tower Property from Broward County: With the acquisition of this property, we intend to establish a perceive Park to be named as Water Tower Park at 3920 SW 38 Avenue. While providing the much needed park space within the Lake Forest community, the additional park space will also increase the City’s park inventory needed to meet the County and City’s Comprehensive Plan requirements to provide park space for existing and future residents. It also fulfills a Recreation and Open Space Element policy to provide parks within a 1⁄2 mile radius of West Park residents by providing greater access to park facilities for residents in the easternmost part of the City.
- Accepted funding increase from the Children Services Council for the Juvenile Crime Prevention Program: With funding support from the Children’s Services Council we successfully completed the City’s after school program (Juvenile Crime Prevention Program). Since its inception over 200 children have been serviced as we received funding increase for the program’s third year of existence.
- Received the Community Development Block Grant award in the amount of $55,542.00 for SW 40th Avenue (Barack Obama Boulevard) Improvements: The proposed improvements to the boulevard will include drainage system upgrade; milling and resurfacing of asphalt; roadway construction, as needed; new sidewalk to achieve continuity; installation ADA ramps; bicycle lanes; supplemental street lights; landscaped swales or planter area with irrigation; and the incorporation of traffic calming devices.
- Received the Community Development Block Grant award in the amount of $32,580.00 for traffic calming conceptual design to the intersection of SW 20th Street & SW 57th Avenue: This project is intended to calm traffic along the corridors and to reduce and possibly eliminate near traffic accidents at the intersection.
- Authorized the purchase of new rescue (ambulance) truck for the Fire Department: In the spirit of continuing to increase the quality of service to our residents, we have authorized the purchase of a new 2016 International Ambulance Truck. As a City of positive progression, we consider this purchase as vitally important to the health, welfare and safety of our residents
- Accepted the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance grant from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement: These funds will be used for the purpose of reducing crime and enhancing public safety at a public facility.
- Established the Monthly Free Fresh Produce and Dry, Shelf Stable Food Giveaway Program: In partnership with Feeding South Florida we commenced the distribution of free fresh fruits and produce giveaway monthly. The types of fresh produce normally distributed include, sweet potatoes, watermelon, cabbage, cucumber, squash, lettuce, onion, tomatoes and sometimes beverages and canned foods. The distribution locations are McTyre Park, Mary Saunders Park and City Hall.
- Collaborated with Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant: The collaboration was established to improve the mobility, safety and economic well-being of our community by submitting for funding request that would provide transportation network and connectivity to commercial, residential, educational and recreational facilities. The partnership is intended to generate up to $6,542,192.00 funding for improvement to SW 48 Avenue from County Line Road to Pembroke Road; SW 21 Street from east of SW 50 Ave. to west of SW 46 Avenue; and Sutton Road from Williams Road to Hallandale Beach Blvd.
- Accepted the grant award of $950,000.00 from Broward Redevelopment Program for the Complete Street Improvement project along Barack Obama Boulevard (SW 40 Avenue) from County Line Road to Pembroke Road: The improvement will provide much needed drainage system upgrade; milling and resurfacing of asphalt; roadway construction, as needed; new sidewalk to achieve continuity; installation ADA ramps; bicycle lanes; supplemental street lights; landscaped swales or planter area with irrigation; and the incorporation of traffic calming devices.
- Recognized Growth in Businesses in the City: With the continuation of dedicated services to our residents and businesses, we were successful in increasing the number of businesses in the City, thus generating 15% increase in businesses tax revenue.
- Extended the Lien Amnesty Program: This program provide 85% discount to property owners with fines or liens on their property as a result of code enforcement violation. The program is beneficial in achieving the goal of compliance and it continue to further benefit the public by increasing property values throughout the City.
- Established partnership with AARP Foundation for the Senior Community Service Employment Program: The participants provide community service while actively pursuing unsubsidized employment off the program. As partners we support each participant’s quest in pursuing unsubsidized job and encourage interested senior residents to take advantage of the opportunity.
- Reduced Property Taxes Again: Like prior year, we provided relieve to residents during this tough economic times by reducing property taxes for the fiscal year 2015/2016. With the continued reduction in property taxes, we adhere to the steadfast commitment to maintain an economically and environmentally sustainable City that builds a sense of community spirit and pride with fiscally responsible government and the highest quality municipal services.
- Established the Small Business Grant Program: In our continued effort to invest in local businesses, we now offer the Small Business Grant Program. This grant program is funded through revenues received from Business Tax Receipts. The program is created to provide financial and technical assistance to qualified small businesses that meet the eligibility criteria as provided in the grant application. Within the last year, we awarded $5,000 each to three (3) small businesses in the City. The businesses are: Rose’s Delight, Inc.; IRK Upholstery; and Rapid Auto Lube, Inc.
- Completed the Construction of the Computer Lab at Mary Saunders Park: In an effort to continue improving the quality of services and activities offered at our parks, we have renovated the recreation hall at Mary Saunders Park and built a new computer lab. The renovations included installation of several custom computer work stations, printers, new interior paint and vinyl floor tiling. The computer lab will greatly enhance the senior programming, after school programming and all camp activities at the Park.
- Offered free recycling services to businesses: At no cost to all businesses in the City with a Business Tax Receipt, the City began providing a free 96-gallon recycling container and free recycling collection services to be performed by Waste Pro.
- Celebrated the City’s 10th Year Anniversary milestone with three successful events in 2015: The Mayor’s State of the City Address in March; the Summer Concert and Fireworks Spectacular in July; and the Scholarship Awards and Pioneer Recognition Gala in December at the Broward County Convention Center. At the December Gala, ten students were awarded college scholarships and ten pioneer residents were recognized.
The accomplishments of the many do not come in a package. It is not a commodity to be taken down from the shelf by one of the many, but by the many working together as one. A majority of the great historic accomplishments of the past have been the final result of a persistent struggle against discouragement and failure. Remember that we are never beaten until we think we are. Working together our chances of success are great; without togetherness the chances of succeeding are small. Let’s continue our journey the path ahead awaits.
GOD BLESS AMERICA AND GOD BLESS THE CITY OF WEST PARK!