Meeting Thursday on ‘Plantation Gateway’

Those of us who have been here for a few decades know that State Road 7/U.S. 441 has changed greatly. The northern retirees seeking sunshine have moved farther west, and leaders of municipalities stretching from south to north in Broward County have generally watched the road become a nightmare to traverse upon.

    Improving the city’s eastern border is a point of emphasis for the city, to the point that a committee gathers regularly to discuss ideas. The Plantation Gateway Development District Advisory Board is set to meet again at noon Thursday, June 13, at the city’s development services building.

  Plantation in 1988 created a CRA special taxing district for the area, with hopes of redevelopment. Most of that money goes for added beautification and security. The purpose of the advisory board is to provide input to the City Council and staff on how to spend funds generated within the Plantation Gateway special taxing district.

 Plantation Police Officer Darren Brodsky takes the lead in Gateway security, overseeing two officers specifically assigned to the area. He also encourages better lighting for businesses and tries to manage challenges as the homeless population migrates from Fort Lauderdale to the west. On the horizon is a façade program that offers businesses the ability to modify their entrances, with the city participating in the improvement.

 The committee also follows changes in the area, which will be coming soon: PIXL, a 330-condo along Sunrise Boulevard just orth of the Strata project, is coming, as well as apartments at 311 N. State Road 7. Business owners along State Road 7 note that those added residents will bring more purchasing power to their area. A Burger King and a WaWa are scheduled to open, south of Broward Boulevard. (Bad news is that Plantation General Hospital has announced it is departing.)

 Members of the committee are Chair Mike Hooley (Plantation Ford), Vice Chair Jeff Burley (B&B Interior Systems), Kenneth Anson (Plantation Firestone), Kevin Bingham (Dead Bug Edwards), Davis Pulikken (Plantation Inn), Dean Bromante (Rogers Repair Center) and Sandra Einhorn.

  The meetings are open to the public and I have found the group to be quite receptive to ideas and those with an interest in the area. There’s also usually sandwiches and cookies afterward, if that will help motivate you.

Minorities and the wealth gap

 I was fortunate to attend several discussions led by The Asset Building Policy Network (ABPN), a coalition committed to expanding economic opportunities for low-income members of communities of color and closing the racial wealth gap.

 The meeting was at the Urban League of Broward building and I was one of only two elected officials to attend. Julie Fishman of Tamarac was the other.

 The day included focusing on systems and policy change across a range of areas—from financial services to entrepreneurship to immigration to the tax code—that impact wealth creation.

 I never really broke down our city in terms of race and wealth, although much of what was discussed is pretty intuitive. But being aware of techniques other policy makers might be employing to lift low-wealth areas can only help our city, too. Thanks to Josie Bacallao of Hispanic Unity Florida, like me a former Sun-Sentinel person, for helping connect me to yet another educational opportunity.

Coming up

 The Helen B. Hoffman Library kicks off its summer reading program at 7 p.m. Monday, June 10 on the library lawn. There will be a  DJ and fun and games.

 Baptist Health, which is building an outpatient facility on Peters Road, sponsors new exercise groups in the city. One group meets at 6:15 p.m. Wednesdays at the Plantation Central Park pavilion. Email or call 786-596-3812. For groups in other cities, go to

  The next Plantation City Council meeting is at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 12, at Plantation City Hall. The biggest agenda item apparently is the approval of expansion of the El Fogon restaurant at 339 S. State Road 7. Staff has recommended approval. The new plan would make the restaurant 13 tables (52 seats) with eight counter seats.

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