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The Galt Merchants Association is spearheading an effort to transform the Galt Ocean Village Shoppes neighborhood into a vibrant destination for tourists and locals. The City of Fort Lauderdale and the local merchants have made substantial progress to this end, via an exciting Master Plan composed by "Architectural Alliance", the winning bidder on the project. While the Master Plan targets the neighborhood's general development, the 32nd Street Alley Partnership is attempting to correct a persistent infrastructure deficiency.

32nd Street Alley Map
32nd STREET ALLEY
The alley separating the shops on the north side of Oakland Park Boulevard from the shops on the south side of NE 32nd Street between A1A (North Ocean Boulevard) and NE 33rd Avenue has long been a repository for turgid standing water and backwash resulting from inadequate drainage and merchant misuse. This problematic alley has historically been a thorn in the side of the merchants whose establishments abut it's persistently polluted ponding water. In 1996 the sludgefest actually precipitated a collapse between numbers 31 through 37 in the alley. Since this environmental enigma is hidden from view behind several popular establishments whose entrances are clean and attractive, the public is sheltered from (and ignorant of) the alley's problems. This created another obstacle for the disaffected merchants.

Politicians generally gravitate toward high profile problems. The press that follows egregious public issues is "mother's milk" to the majority of public officials. Disentangling dilemmas "below the radar" rarely brings political remuneration. Adopting the 32nd Street Alley difficulty would be, in a word, thankless. However, as fate would have it, there's a new commissioner in town!

Christine Teel, newly seated District 1 City Commissioner, has picked up the gauntlet. An aggregate of business owners, tenants, property owners and managers, along with representative civic associations, has coalesced with The City of Fort Lauderdale to form the 32nd Street Alley Partnership. This coalition of interested parties or "stakeholders" has already met several times to define and tackle two objectives. Their "raison d’être" is to transform the alley into a sanitary functional part of the neighborhood's infrastructure. Equally important, this "partnership" could be a working prototype, a model vehicle tailored to the fiscal reality of our current political environment.

The City of Fort Lauderdale is caught between a rock and a hard place. Two nationally popular conflicting forces, "fix it now" and "no taxes" are throttling municipal government. City officials are expected to meet their citizens' needs and provide reasonable civic improvements without being able to ask anyone to pay for it! The City is long on expertise but short on dollars. The merchants have some fiscal resources but lack the technical wherewithal and political agility to contend with the inherent construction, zoning, and environmental hurdles. While neither side has all the necessary resources, the participants have created a partnership wherein each side brings its particular strength to the table. If successful, Commissioner Teel's partnership model can be replicated to address other prodigal alleys. In fact, there's no reason why it couldn't be successfully applied to any community improvement project victimized by our current political fiscal dogma.

Because the resolution of this ongoing infrastructure bugbear might yield a functional format to address similar problems, the Galt Mile Community Association and the Galt Merchants Association agree that the 32nd Street Alley Partnership is doubly worthy of universal support! Our intention to scrutinize the progress of this effort and post current updates (whenever possible) will lend itself to widening that community support. Stay tuned!

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32nd Street Alley - Aerial View

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May 14th Letter from Commissioner Christine Teel


Dear Stakeholder:

As you may know, a group of business owners, property managers and tenants, with an interest in the NE 32nd Street alley, have been meeting to discuss potential solutions to the issue of general maintenance and drainage. The good news is that the city has recognized the deficiencies in the alley. City administration stands ready to take shared responsibility, with the financially responsible parties, for much needed improvements.

Commissioner Christine TeelI am attaching copies of the minutes from our last two meetings to ensure that everyone is in the communication loop. It is essential that we have the cooperation of the business owners and tenants in order to proceed. I am also attaching a checklist that asks each financially responsible party to indicate how they are currently handling alley maintenance issues. When the drainage and maintenance issues are resolved, the City will carry out needed repairs to the alley.

I would be very happy to meet with you to further explain any of the above information. Several of us will be taking a tour of the alley on May 21st at 1:00 PM followed by a meeting at the Beach Community Center at 1:30 PM. I would be happy if you could join us. Please return the checklist to my office by May 20th or call (954) 828-5004 if you wish to meet with me. If I do not hear from you by that time I will assume you wish the city to return to a mandatory enforcement mode. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Christine Teel

Commissioner, District I

Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Christine Teel's office is located at 100 N. Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301. Her telephone no. is (954) 828-5004 and FAX no. is (954) 828-5667. Click Here to access Commissioner Teel's City of Fort Lauderdale web site. Commissioner Teel's E-mail address is ChristineT@cityfort.com. For complete contact information, go to Report Card.

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Summary Notes

32nd Street Alley Meeting
May 7, 2003 - 1:30 P.M.


In Attendance

Christine Teel, Commissioner, District I; Ron Ryan, Archie's Place; Ralph Hamaker, Coral Ridge Towers South; Alex Leeds, Galt Merchants Association; Bob Rozema, Galt Mile Community Association; Gloria Wetherington, Tony Lemos Realty; Steve Balinski, Rella Properties; Roberto Pacella, Pan'e Dolce; George Mayer, Galt Mile Community Association

Staff: Karl Shallenberger, Frank Stockinger, Lee Bradley, Pam Brown

Agenda Items

Commissioner Teel opened the meeting and welcomed the attendees

  • Mr. Shallenberger gave a summary of important information from the last meeting. He reiterated that the City is willing to take responsibility for the actual maintenance of the alley but only after a partnership has developed. The City expects the alley stakeholders to contribute to the potential solutions.

  • Discussion followed regarding the causes for the standing water at the bottom of the alley and what substances cannot be put in the storm drain. Mr. Stockinger suggested that the City produce a brochure for distribution to the businesses outlining procedures for drain usage and the sanctions for improper usage. It was also suggested that the middle of the brochure be a single page of "Do's" and "Don'ts" that could be attached to the back door of each business. Meeting participants agreed this was an excellent idea.

  • Clarification was sought regarding where the responsibility for the alley actually lies. Mr. Shallenberger explained that the alley belongs to the city technically, in that it is a public right of way, but the responsibility for what is placed in the alley remains with the businesses. He went on to talk about the partnership that was built in the entertainment district at SW 2nd Street. Restaurant owners banded together to put in a French drain that is now cleaned regularly by one of their maintenance people. In response city engineering put in a new storm drain.

  • 32nd Street Alley on Master Plan Several people commented that all restaurant and business owners need to be at the meetings and part of the discussion. It was suggested that a polite but stern letter be sent requiring attendance and partnership, and clearly stating that the city is serious about the clean up and that action will be taken if voluntary participation is not successful. Commissioner Teel committed to visiting the owners as a follow-up to the letter. She also requested that information regarding the meetings be placed on the Galt Merchants' web site. Dr. Leeds agreed and asked that the meeting notes be e-mailed to him.

  • Mr. Shallenberger asked the businesses if they had specific issues regarding the state of the alley. Several mentioned that Walgreen's is one of the worst offenders in terms of trash, weeds and general poor maintenance. The fire extinguisher system attachment at the back of the liquor store is leaking (these issues have been given to code enforcement). Ms. Wetherington pointed out several actions she has already taken regarding alley maintenance. Several businesses said the alley was looking a little better.

  • Mr. Shallenberger clearly stated that dumpsters must either be contained, or the liquids must be run through a grease trap. Commissioner Teel suggested that a check-off list should be attached to the letter sent to businesses asking them to decide what process they would use and giving them a date for when they must return the information.

  • A discussion followed regarding who is part of the stakeholders group. Several people suggested that there are other responsible parties besides the restaurants. Ms. Wetherington drew up a list, which is attached.

  • Finally Mr. Shallenberger made clear to the group that the ideal solution would be for the business owners to install a French drain. He assured the group that the city will repave and repair the alley around whatever the businesses decide to put in. A discussion followed regarding whether city engineering could come up with a design. Mr. Shallenberger offered that the businesses could bring their plans to city engineering for review prior to installation. He suggested the businesses get some quotes. The meeting ended with agreement that Commissioner Teel should contact business owners after the letter and checklist is sent out

    The next meeting will take place on May 21, 2003, 1:30 p.m.

    Karl V. Shallenberger from the Office of Environmental Services can be phoned at (954) 828-7843, Faxed at (954) 828-7881 or E-Mailed at KarlS@ci.ftlaud.fl.us. His office at the Public Services Department is located at 949 NW 38th Street, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309.

    Frank Stockinger is a Code Compliance Officer in the Community and Economic Development Department of the Community Inspections Bureau. His phone no. is (954) 828-5656 and Fax no. is (954) 828-5338. His office is located at 300 NW First Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301. Click Here to access his web site (which has an enormous amount of useful code information). Frank Stockinger can be reached by Email at FrankSt@ci.fort-lauderdale.fl.us.

    Pam Brown is an Assistant to the City Commission. Phone: (954) 828-5004, Fax: (954) 828-5667, E-Mail: PBrown@fortlauderdale.gov. Her office is located at 100 North Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301.

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    Summary Notes

    32nd Street Alley Meeting
    April 23, 2003 - 1:30 P.M.


    In Attendance

    Christine Teel, Commissioner, District I; Ron Ryan, Archies Place; Ralph Hamaker, Coral Ridge Towers South; Margaret Weizel, Coral Ridge Towers South; Henry Ling, Ling Kee; Alex Leeds, Galt Merchants Association; Bob Rozema; Galt Mile Community Association; Gloria Wetherington, Tony Lemos Realty; Steve Bolinski, Rella Properties

    Staff: Karl Shallenberger, Frank Stockinger, Pam Brown

    Agenda Items

    Commissioner Teel opened the meeting and welcomed the attendees.

  • Mr. Shallenberger explained that the alley has been a problem for many years. The City, County and Broward County Health Department all have enforcement fights but the City's purpose is to build a parmership with the businesses, owners and managers in the area.

  • Several area business owners and managers commented that the alley has had a problem with backwash for years. In 1996 it actually collapsed between numbers 31 to 37. It was suggested that a drainage basin be installed at one end of the alley at Oakland Park Boulevard and NE 33rd Avenue.

  • Public Services Department Mr. Shallenberger commented that "washing" in the alley is a problem, whether it is pressure washing or simply washing out mats. The water should not reach the city storm drain.

  • A request was made for clarity as to what area of the alley was the City's responsibility and what was the businesses' responsibility. Mr. Shallenberger explained that the maintenance of the alley and the street are the City's responsibility but the use and misuse of the alley is the businesses' responsibility. The city is willing to address the maintenance issues but the business people must commit to do their part.

  • A question was asked about the dumpsters. Mr. Stockinger (code enforcement) explained that dumpsters are not allowed in the front of the building and should be well maintained. It was suggested that "no dumping," signs might be helpful in addressing unwanted trash.

  • Dr. Leeds brought up the issue of the future development expected as a result of the Galt Shops Master Plan and the impact this will have on all of the alleys in the neighborhood.

  • It might be a good idea to begin the process of filling the potholes and examining the area for other maintenance issues. Mr. Shallenberger explained that the city has quite purposefully singled out the NE 32nd Street alley as a model for partnership that could be replicated across the area.

  • The group returned to a general discussion about water in the alley as the key issue to contend with. Mr. Shallenberger made a clear statement that contaminated water from a poorly maintained alley should not enter the storm drain. The City is willing to address the issue of repairing public infrastructure but the businesses must also commit to be cooperative partners.

  • A verbal agreement was made that extra care in keeping the alley clean would be a priority as an interim measure to show good faith to the neighbors. Participants agreed to ask other users of the alley to cooperate in the effort.

  • Other issues were addressed including the need for all dumpsters to have plugs. A suggestion was made regarding the possibilities for installing a "French" drain and it was requested that Walgreen's be invited to participate in future meetings.

    The next meeting will be held on May 7 at 1:30 p.m. at the Beach Community Center.

    Karl V. Shallenberger from the Office of Environmental Services can be phoned at (954) 828-7843, Faxed at (954) 828-7881 or E-Mailed at KarlS@ci.ftlaud.fl.us. His office at the Public Services Department is located at 949 NW 38th Street, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309.

    Frank Stockinger is a Code Compliance Officer in the Community and Economic Development Department of the Community Inspections Bureau. His phone no. is (954) 828-5656 and Fax no. is (954) 828-5338. His office is located at 300 NW First Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301. Click Here to access his web site (which has an enormous amount of useful code information). Frank Stockinger can be reached by Email at FrankSt@ci.fort-lauderdale.fl.us.

    Pam Brown is an Assistant to the City Commission. Phone: (954) 828-5004, Fax: (954) 828-5667, E-Mail: PBrown@fortlauderdale.gov. Her office is located at 100 North Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301.

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    Bad News in the 32nd Street Alley


    On October 29, 2003, I asked Catherine Wichmann of City Commissioner Christine Teel's office about the status of the 32nd Street Alley situation. On November 5th, I received a notification from City Commission Administrative Assistant Pam Brown that indicates an adversarial condition exists between the involved merchants and the City.

    The content contained in that notification is as follows:

    "The code violation issues in the 32nd street alley have been going on for too long. Commissioner Teel has made a strenuous attempt to bring the 32nd alley businesses to the table so that they might voluntarily comply with city codes. To this date there has been a disappointing lack of response. The City has now moved to enforcement mode. Code violations have been issued and the businesses will be given 30 days to comply. Failure to comply will result in appearances before the Special Master and the potential imposition of fines and of liens being placed on the properties for noncompliance. This is the beginning of a long process to enforce compliance. The City is committed to seeing this process through and bringing these issues to closure – with the goal being a more sanitary, environmentally friendly and healthy condition in the 32nd Street Alley for the betterment of the Galt Ocean Community."

    Stay tuned...

    Pam Brown is an Assistant to the City Commission. Phone: (954) 828-5004, Fax: (954) 828-5667, E-Mail: PamB@fortlauderdale.gov. Her office is located at 100 North Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301.

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    City Repairs Rancid Galt Alley

    Galt Ocean Village Shoppes Neighborhood
    GALT OCEAN VILLAGE SHOPPES NEIGHBORHOOD
    June 10, 2007 - Transformation of the Galt Ocean Village Shoppes area into a vibrant commercial adjunct to the Galt Mile community has been central to neighborhood redevelopment plans. A wide-paved, landscaped neighborhood filled with cafés and upscale boutiques, the commercial district located between A1A and the intracoastal just north of Oakland Park Boulevard evolved through multiple incarnations. Trendy restaurants opened and closed overnight. Curio shops, nail salons, thrift shops, popular night clubs and nostalgia-style antique merchants seemed to ride a revolving treadmill of intermittent success. Despite the area’s ever-changing commercial composition, the eclectic combination of shops continues to attract visitors from all over the city.

    Galt Ocean Village Shoppes Neighborhood
    GALT OCEAN VILLAGE SHOPPES NEIGHBORHOOD
    Attempting to find a formula that would bring stability to the neighborhood’s ephemeral identity, the Galt Mile Community Association, the City and the
    Galt Merchants Association persisted in a decades-long search for the elements required to nourish a successful renaissance. The area desperately needed some substantial enterprises to serve as anchors for the artsy establishments. The Galt Merchants Association used a $15,000 capital improvement program grant received from the City of Fort Lauderdale to create a viable and exciting Master Plan designed to morph the Galt Ocean Village Shoppes into a sustainable tourist magnet. Establishing a mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly area with the appropriate infrastructure enhancements and amenities, traffic flow and parking considerations, and the accompanying visual enrichment afforded by decorative sidewalks, brick paver inserts, special lighting, and new landscaping would transform this area into a “destination” place for residents and visitors.

    32nd Street Alley on Master Plan
    32nd STREET ALLEY FINALLY FIXED
    Unfortunately, the neighborhood was plagued with a critical infrastructure defect that threatened to undermine any prospect of success. The alley separating the shops on the north side of Oakland Park Boulevard from the shops on the south side of NE 32nd Street between A1A (North Ocean Boulevard) and NE 33rd Avenue had long been a repository for turgid standing water and backwash resulting from inadequate drainage and merchant abuse. Not only had this problematic alley historically been a thorn in the side of the merchants whose establishments abut it's persistently polluted ponding water, the surrounding neighborhood was permeated with malevolent odors and faced a deteriorating health hazard. In 1996 the sludgefest actually precipitated a collapse between numbers 31 through 37 in the alley. Since this environmental enigma was hidden from view behind several popular establishments whose entrances were clean and attractive, the public was sheltered from (and ignorant of) the alley’s problems.

    Commissioner Christine Teel
    DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
    CHRISTINE TEEL
    District 1 City Commissioner Christine Teel organized a series of meetings aimed at curing the dilemma in April and May, 2003. Karl V. Shallenberger from the Office of Environmental Services and Code Compliance Officer Frank Stockinger met with Commissioner Christine Teel, Ron Ryan (Archie’s Place), Ralph Hamaker, (Coral Ridge Towers South), Margaret Weizel, (Coral Ridge Towers South), Henry Ling, (Ling Kee Restaurant), Alex Leeds, (Galt Merchants Association), Bob Rozema, (Galt Mile Community Association), Gloria Wetherington, (Tony Lemos Realty) and Steve Bolinski (Rella Properties). The participants agreed that if the merchants would cease dumping grease and biological waste in the alley, the City would finance repairs to the sinkhole and maintain it thereafter. In particular, the businesses had to stop pressure washing equipment and materials in the alley, creating a toxic runoff into storm drains that ultimately fed the Intracoastal Waterway. As an interim show of good faith, the participants verbally agreed to exercise special attention to keeping the alley clean.

    Galt Ocean Village Shoppes Merchant Street Entrances
    GALT OCEAN VILLAGE SHOPPES MERCHANT STREET ENTRANCES
    On October 29, 2003, GMCA asked Commissioner Christine Teel’s office for an update about the status of the 32nd Street Alley. On November 5th, City Commission Administrative Assistant Pam Brown explained that an adversarial condition existed between the involved merchants and the City. She described the Commissioner's perspective as follows:

    “The code violation issues in the 32nd Street alley have been going on for too long. Commissioner Teel has made a strenuous attempt to bring the 32nd Street alley businesses to the table so that they might voluntarily comply with city codes. To this date there has been a disappointing lack of response. The City has now moved to enforcement mode. Code violations have been issued and the businesses will be given 30 days to comply. Failure to comply will result in appearances before the Special Master and the potential imposition of fines and of liens being placed on the properties for noncompliance. This is the beginning of a long process to enforce compliance. The City is committed to seeing this process through and bringing these issues to closure – with the goal being a more sanitary, environmentally friendly and healthy condition in the 32nd Street Alley for the betterment of the Galt Ocean Community.”

    Dispersion Through Perforated Pipes
    DISPERSION THROUGH
    PERFORATED PIPES
    The “long process to enforce compliance” continued for three years. In 2006, the City of Fort Lauderdale’s Construction Management Division agreed to supervise the construction and installation of a new drainage system to address flooding and environmental concerns in the heavily polluted Galt alleyways. Public Works Director Albert J. Carbon III, P. E. described project details and credited Elkin Diaz, Karim Rahmankhah, Alison Canizares and Wayne Darby with designing the corrective measures that cured the problem.

    Dispersion Through Perforated Pipes
    POST-BAFFLE RUNOFF FILTERS INTO SOIL
    Designed to meet both City of Fort Lauderdale and Broward County drainage flooding criteria, the drainage system features new drainage basins in each alleyway. According to Carbon, “These catch basins are connected by underground piping that is perforated to allow water to pass through its walls and into a surrounding layer of drainage rock.” Instead of collecting in stagnant, contaminated pools, “water now drains into the catch basins, down through the pipes, into the layers of rock, and finally, percolates into the ground.” Director Carbon also indicated that Dane Esdelle, Sayd Hussain, Frank Nieto and Scott Vanlew of the City were responsible for project construction.

    Baffle Screens Litter and Debris in Catch Basin
    CATCH BASIN BAFFLE SCREENS LITTER AND DEBRIS
    The improvement project included implementation of an environmental solution to the foul odor and unsightly appearance of the area, largely from garbage runoff and the accumulation of debris from adjacent restaurants and businesses. Carbon explained, “The City designed and installed pollution retardant baffles in each catch basin that function as screens to filter litter and debris from the storm water before it enters the drainage system.” In addition to cleaning and channeling the storm water runoff into the ground, the new system facilitates the collection of refuse and debris directly from the catch basins. The Public Works Director continued, “Regularly scheduled cleaning and removal of debris from the catch basins by the City’s Public Works Department will ensure that the system continues to operate efficiently.”

    Responding to an agenda supported by the Galt Mile Community Association and the Galt Merchants Association, Commissioner Teel’s unrelenting efforts actualized an effective – and permanent – resolution to this redevelopment stumbling block. Neighborhood improvement advocates can again concentrate their efforts on attracting some productive development along the intracoastal and pursuing Master Plan enhancements. Now that the dump and the stink have passed into history, the 32nd Street Alley no longer represents an obstacle to local community rehabilitation. Unlike the majority of municipal good intentions that die on the drawing board, it’s encouraging to witness one brought to fruition.

    As of May 2006...
    Mission Accomplished

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