By: Sharon Aron Baron
District Two in Tamarac has had taxation without some sort of competent and consistent representation for some time and it shows. Details that only residents who are truly invested in the community can see, are problematic and are not getting taken care of. Sidewalks are black with mildew, shopping carts sit on corners for days, corners are magnets for advertising signs and strip malls sit empty. We haven’t had an elected official that has been an advocate for the aesthetics in Tamarac.
Tamarac has a public art committee, but no beautification committee. Taxpayer money isn’t used for public art; funding for it comes from our “Percent-for-Art” program in which a percentage of all money collected from building permits are used for public art programs. I propose we create a new tax using the same percentage from building permits and call it “Bucks for Beautification.” All proceeds from this fund will be used to plant trees and flowers, pressure clean sidewalks and fund new parks.
Broward County along with Tamarac just nabbed Venezuelan corporation Unipharma to move into our city bringing roughly 100 new jobs to the area. They did this by enticing the company with a local and state incentive package of at least $500,000 to get them to choose our city over Atlanta and Madrid, Spain.
How are these workers going to keep their money here if we don’t make this city look better? We better act quickly and start setting the stage, unless we want to see these high paid workers punch out and drive to their homes in nearby cities like Coral Springs, Parkland or Pembroke Pines instead of Tamarac.
The Blighted Park
One of our biggest eyesores in Tamarac is what the city calls “The Park on 61st Street.” There isn’t anything park-like about this abandoned property. It sits near the Broward Teacher’s Union and someday the city wants to make it into a park, but that plan has been put off due to funding. The trees need trimming and homeless people enjoy sleeping in “the park” at night. Community activist Patti Lynn has suggested that it become a community garden for the local schools, but no one on the commission has embraced this idea.
A Tisket a Tasket – In Tamarac, there’s Baskets….
It’s impossible to catch the people that steal store carts and take them off the premises, but our city can work more closely with the stores to make sure that they pick up their carts each day from our streets. Publix carts lock up once someone tries to take them off their property. Why can’t Target, Aldi, Walgreens, Winn-Dixie and CVS do the same thing? If someone doesn’t have a car to transport their groceries, they should buy a personal cart. They even sell them at Publix.
50 Shades of Gray
If there’s one investment Tamarac should look into next week while addressing their budget is investing in a pressure cleaning machine for the city. Coral Springs purchased two of them and Commissioner Larry Vignola told me it was an excellent investment as the machines clean up not only the streets and the medians, but the exterior of public buildings and playground equipment. Take a drive on University and see how clean their sidewalks are. They look brand new while Tamarac’s look not only filthy, but neglected.
Just pray that it doesn’t rain while waiting for the bus
Tamarac only has several covered bus stops. There are many old bus benches around but that isn’t going to help anyone on rainy days. Weston and Coral Springs managed to install their own bus stops and we should find a way to do the same.
Currently, many residents that are using Broward County Transit are waiting next to a pole with nowhere to sit and unprotected from the frequent rain storms. Makeshift boxes or shopping carts are used for seating. Lack of light during early mornings and after dusk leaves residents standing in the dark. Since there are no garbage cans nearby, many leave trash on the ground, forcing property owners to clean up the mess.
At the August 2012 City Commission meeting, City Manager Michael Cernech announced that the city received $401,400 from a federal bus shelter grant that they had applied for. Currently, I’m waiting for an update from the Interim Director of Community Development to see what the status on these are today. Hopefully, we will see safer, as well as aesthetically pleasing shelters going up around our city soon.
Public transportation should a comfortable, convenient and safe option. Having safe shelters while using Broward County Transit will not only encourage more ridership, it will also enhance the aesthetics of the city.