The City of Tamarac held a neighborhood meeting at the Tamarac Community Center on April 14th inviting communities that border the Commercial Boulevard and Rock Island Corridor.
Director of Community Development, Bramley, Planning and Zoning Manager Frank Zickar and Public Works Director Jack Strain discussed proposed streetscape improvements and the new bikeway on Woodlands Boulevard.
This bikeway project on Woodlands Boulevard will change each of the two lanes into one wide lane measuring 14ft with an 8ft bike lane on the outside. The boulevard, which is used daily by many walkers and runners, currently has no safe walking or riding paths. A resident was hit by a car in November 2010 which set this project in motion by the residents. Sidewalks were also discussed many years ago, however, the residents did not agree to it. The only expenditure to the city will be re-marking the lanes and widening the entrance to enable the bikeway to meet Commercial Blvd. The bikeway will eventually connect the South side of Commercial Blvd with another one on the North side.
The next project that was discussed was the North side of Commercial from Woodlands Blvd east to the corner of Rock Island. This blighted area with mismatched fences and neglected landscaping has been a source of contention for many years. City Manager Michael Cernech said that former Mayor Beth Talabisco had been trying to do something with this area since she was a commissioner back in 2003.
The issue the city has faced with this area is that the property belongs to the homeowners that live directly behind it. The homeowners are required to maintain the landscaping behind their properties, but it has been difficult for them to do as this requires them to exit their development and maintain it from the sidewalk on Commercial Blvd. The City discovered that a portion of the easement area is considered a Public Screening Easement (PSE) which gives them 5ft to install a hedge or a wall along the corridor.
The City would like to install a tall hedge along this easement and plant Podocarpus, which is a more resilient type of hedge than ficus. Planting hedges along this easement would also require installing irrigation. Several residents at the meeting asked the City to look into the costs of building a wall along the corridor. A wall may be cost-prohibitive and it would still require hedges per city code. The City is waiting for the Corridor Study and may consider looking into a less expensive modular-type wall.
There were many complaints from the residents regarding the streetscape improvements including: City finances, water usage and maintenance of the hedges. Jennifer Bramley reminded residents that the improvements do not have to be done. The City is improving this area after numerous complaints from the residents. Residents realized that improvements to this area are necessary. After a quick show of hands, many people agreed to go forward with the project.
A Woodlands resident brought up the lack of maintenance on the SE corner of 64th Street and Commercial Blvd. The area has been neglected for some time and Jennifer Bramley said that she would look into it.