By Agrippina Fadel
As Tamarac prepares to celebrate its 60th birthday in July, Mayor Michelle Gomez looked into the city’s past and future when delivering her 2023 State of the City Address on March 8.
Gomez outlined several ongoing projects to make city roads safer, alleviate the traffic, beautify streets and plazas, and bring new businesses and housing developments to Tamarac.
She said the city that started as acres of wild marshland, fields of grazing cows, and berry-picking farms, is evolving to accommodate its growing, multigenerational population.
“We have come a long way since 1963. Tamarac has turned into a thriving, neighborly, safe city of 72,000 residents, 12 square miles, nearly 2,000 businesses, and 12 city parks,” Gomez added.
She said the city keeps growing and boasts over 20,000 owner-occupied housing units and 720 renter-occupied units. Tamarac is also considering redeveloping the old Cheddar’s building on Commercial Boulevard into a mixed-use midrise building for commercial and residential tenants and considering bringing The Wiener Museum of Decorative Arts, currently located in Dania, to the old Progressive Insurance site on the same street.
Gomez said the city is happy to have local businesses that have served residents for decades, like Orange Tree Breakfast and Lunch and Ats-A-Pizza, but also welcomes new restaurants that can build legacies, including Culver’s, Savvy Sliders, YOLO Korean BBQ, Cali Coffee, a new Dunkin’ Donuts, and Captain’s Café and Capital Tacos, coming later this month.
She added that the city’s first two rooftop restaurants are currently under review. “I’m very excited to dine under the stars in Tamarac,” Gomez said.
Gomez said a Florida Department of Transportation grant would fund a “major facelift” of Southgate and University this year, including landscaping, pavers, and a new irrigation system.
FDOT is also working with Tamarac on fixing the intersections on Commercial Blvd, including potentially adding dedicated left turn lights at Woodlands Boulevard, expanding the sound barrier walls, and adding Turnpike exits along Cypress Creek Rd and Oakland Park Blvd.
Gomez said the city is working on updating the parks, including a $4.5 million enhancement project of Caporella Park, set for the grand opening in late 2023, and spending $2.1 million dollars at Veterans Park and Sunset Point Park for renovations and parking lot expansions, scheduled for completion this summer.
The latter will feature the $1.1 million Sunset Hammock art installation that will give residents a glimpse into the nearby Florida Everglades. “A conceptual design has been prepared for the seven-acre Sabal Palm Park, and we will have a design team on this project by Fall 2023,” Gomez said, adding that the $7 million project should be completed by Summer 2025.
Gomez said she hopes to soon finalize ordinances focused on resolving residential parking concerns, excessive noise, and special events and is proud that the city passed a new ordinance to ban smoking in public parks.
“Today, we certainly are not the rural city we started as almost 60 years ago, nor the retirement community I remember visiting as a child. At the same time, we are not a mega-metropolis. While we are evolving and growing, we are keeping our Tamarac flavor,” said Gomez.
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- Agrippina Fadel grew up in Siberia and received her master's in journalism from Tyumen State University. Agrippina is also a writer and editor at Draftsy.net. She has been a US resident for over ten years and speaks English and Russian.
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