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MINUTES OF GMCA ADVISORY BOARD MEETING

JANUARY 16, 2014


The meeting was called to order at 11:15 a.m. by President Pio Ieraci at Nick’s Italian Restaurant.

Board Members present: Ieraci, Berkowitz, Hamaker, Nesbitt, McBride, Abruzzino, Adams, Aschner, Bazerghi, Bendis, A. Casier, F. Casier, Claire, Clarke, Cohn, Correa, Freismuth, Friedman, Gonzalez, Katkin, Kessler, Korn, Larson, Lyons, Marcus, Pescosolido, Pohan, Rollo, Smith, Solewin and Vega.

Guests present: Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Bruce Roberts; Commission Aide Kate Wesner of Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca’s office; Officer Chris Sousa, Fort Lauderdale Police Department.

Approval of Minutes - Minutes of the December 19, 2013 Advisory Board Meeting were approved.

Old and New Business

  • Pio introduced Vice Mayor Bruce Roberts, Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner, who shared:

    • Information on the A1A Greenway Project; the $13 million project will begin soon.

    • Pio explained that proprietor Dennis Matson of Galt Realty adamantly opposes the project, despite having discussed positive aspects of the project and alternative solutions. The inaccurate information he is spreading must be disputed. The project will positively affect 7,000 homeowners on the Mile. Many local merchants favor the project including owners of the Greek Isles and Nick’s Restaurant.

    • Spoke about the parking problems at Bokamper’s.

    • A meeting/workshop is scheduled for January 29 regarding homeless issues, setting up an action plan/new ordinances. (Marlene Katkin told the group about the Homeless Shelter on Broward Blvd.)

    • Attended a conference in Seattle where misdirected policies are exacerbating a homeless problem that’s far worse than Fort Lauderdale’s. Many other areas of the country are similarly afflicted.

    • Economic Development Workshops are scheduled for January 16 and January 30.

    • A Climate Change Open House Meeting is scheduled for January 25.

    • The City is thriving fiscally, as a growing number of development projects yield jobs and broaden the tax base.

    • Discussed recycling.

    • Explained delays hampering the fire station project.

  • Pio introduced Chris Sousa, our new representative from the Fort Lauderdale Police Department:

    • Crime statistics in our area are comparatively favorable.

    • Discussed vehicles towed from association properties; opening an account with a towing company will facilitate the removal of unauthorized vehicles

    • Feel free to call him anytime we see a problem.

  • Pio introduced Commission Aide Kate Wesner of Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca’s office, who reported:

    • Chip was in Washington. D.C. yesterday; met with the Army Corp of Engineers regarding the beach renourishment project; the meetings went well and the project is scheduled to begin in February (Unfortunately, as we later learned, this is not the case).

    • Although the Beach Community Center was disqualified as a potential early voting site; Ocean Manors remains under consideration.

    • Improvements to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport’s South runway and Terminal 4 are proceeding as planned.

Galt Ocean Mile Street Landscape - Chepo Vega

Noting that their representatives seldom attend Advisory Board meetings, Pio will call and ask them what they are doing. It is felt that cooperation of a merchants association is important to any neighborhood strategy for addressing the homeless, prostitutes, etc. in the area.

  • A fact-finding neighborhood walk-through with Parks Official Mark Almy and Commissioner Roberts is scheduled for January 20.

  • Replanting of five palm trees is a complicated procedure.

  • Silver buttonwood trees were planted too close to the grids.

  • Stakes haven’t straightened wind-bent trees.

  • Asked for suggestions regarding the area near L’Hermitage.

  • Good news: Parks Department rotated Maria back to the Galt Mile!

Galt Mile Reading Center

Terry Claire reviewed the many activities offered by the Galt Mile Reading Center, including a February 13 party from 2 to 4 p.m.

Galt Mile Web Site – Newsletter – Eric Berkowitz

  • December 2013 Web Site Stats: 547,945 hits; 18,140 Unique Site Visits (First Timers)

Articles posted during the past month include:

  • December 8, 2013 - A1A Greenway at Crossroads - On October 8, 2013, the City of Fort Lauderdale convened a Town Hall style meeting at the Beach Community Center to discuss a seven-year old promise to local residents. Diana Alarcon of Fort Lauderdale’s Transportation & Mobility Department presented a plan to reconfigure the newly narrowed A1A between Flamingo Avenue and Oakland Park Boulevard into a Greenway – as envisioned by City planners. Unlike the design option endorsed by neighborhood residents in a 2009 referendum, the plan she described was riddled with disastrous repercussions. In addition to skyrocketing traffic volume on Galt Ocean Drive, Galt Mile residents would be forced to drive 2 miles in order to park their cars in the public lots directly across the street from their homes. Galt Ocean Drive residents would only be able to exit the block at the northern and southern ends of the street, which would be perpetually jammed by significantly increased traffic. At a December 5th meeting with GMCA officials arranged by Commissioner Roberts, project planners agreed to eliminate the most egregious obstacles. Except for a couple of hardline holdouts, Alarcon quelled the concerns of apprehensive attendees when she announced the concessions at a December 11th public meeting. As a result, A1A will be transformed into a thoroughfare worthy of its designation as a “Florida Scenic Highway” without using neighborhood residents as lab rats in a twisted experiment. Stay tuned...

  • December 22, 2013 - Homestead Express - 2014 - The Florida Constitution provides all legal Florida residents with a tax-saving exemption on the first and third $25,000 of the assessed value of their owner/occupied homes, condominiums, co-op apartments, and other “permanent residences” - if they qualify. Homesteaded properties are eligible for the protective “Save Our Homes” tax cap. Also available are a host of traditional and new exemptions for seniors, veterans, widows/widowers, active military, the blind, disabled persons and properties with build-outs for Mom, Dad, Grandma and/or Grandpa. Apply for exemptions in person, at an outreach event (Beach Community Center), by mail to BCPA, interactively online or by requesting “homesteads-on-wheels” (for house-bound applicants). Although exemption applications are considered “timely” if submitted by the March 3, 2014 “soft” deadline, they will still be accepted until the September 17 “hard” deadline if accompanied by any moronic excuse for tardiness. If you miss that, a “Good Cause” sob story won’t make a difference – you’re screwed!!! Learn about the 2014 incarnation of the Homestead Express!

  • December 30, 2013 - LaMarca Report to Galt Mile - At the December 19 GMCA Advisory Board meeting, our County Commissioner scrutinized the economic engines spearheading Broward’s recovery. While applauding a slide in the State’s unemployment rate to 6.4% (in contrast with the national rate of 7%), LaMarca noted that the jobless rate in Broward County had dropped to 5.3%. He attributed the promising job stats to new construction fueled by the rebounding real estate market and 49 consecutive months of increasing tourism. LaMarca observed “For every 85 visitors to Broward County, one job is created. If you take into consideration the 12 million visitors in 2012, that’s a lot of jobs. Those same visitors spent roughly $10 billion here.” He said that they come here to place their toes in our sand, punctuating the importance of the upcoming Segment II beach renourishment. LaMarca has long advocated enhancing the County’s critical infrastructure, including transportation hubs, a convention center and our shrinking beaches. In his final message in 2013, LaMarca updates the Galt Mile about Port Everglades, the BB&T Sports Complex, the Hollywood/Fort Lauderdale International Airport and our long awaited beach renourishment. Read full report for his comprehensive rundown of Broward’s economic building blocks.

  • January 10, 2014 - Water Park Rises from the Ashes of Fort Lauderdale Stadium - When the City of Sarasota hijacked the Baltimore Orioles spring training program in 2008, the vacated Fort Lauderdale Stadium wound up in the City Commission’s lap. They could have either held a garage sale to attract another club, which would mean fixing it up and taking a beating on the rent, or consigning the once proud facility to a slow death hosting little league finals. Although City Commissioners endorsed a Schlitterbahn Development Group plan to redevelop the property into a 64-acre world class Water Park at a June 15, 2010 Commission meeting, it melted down when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) refused to consent, as required by the 1947 agreement that conveyed the property to the City. Now that the City and Schlitterbahn have finally hammered out mutually agreeable terms with the FAA, the revived plan will transform Lockhart Stadium into a state-of-the-art tournament-sized multi-use athletic field that will permanently house the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, an immense futuristic Water Park, a Sports Village and a Resort featuring tree-top cabins with five-star accommodations - right down the block on Commercial Boulevard!!!

Other Business

  • There is a dumpster-related rat problem at various locations on the Mile

  • The Winn-Dixie project is almost completed; they are in the process of removing dumpsters from the back (south side) of the store.

  • Street lamps on the Mile have been painted.

  • Several of our buildings have not received promotional materials for the Galt Mile Wine & Food Festival.

  • Having earned a degree in Mental Health Counseling, Regency South Manager Michael Gonzalez has tendered his resignation effective January 31 to pursue his new career. We wished him well in this endeavor.

  • Discussed enigmatically discontinued Galt Mile Food Drive. When the Cooperative Feeding Program was absorbed by Lifenet4Families, new management apparently dropped the ball. Annemarie Adams will investigate.

  • Eric explained why security reports hadn’t been distributed recently. He was assured by Lauderdale Beach Homeowners Association President Andy Weiner that the reports would resume when the recently broken Security HQ computer was repaired.

Treasurer’s Report - Given by Fred Nesbitt for Leah Glickfield

The Treasurer’s Report showed a balance of $16,470.79.

Adjournment - The next regular Advisory Board Meeting will be held on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at Nick’s Italian Restaurant.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:05 p.m.

Fern McBride
Fern McBride, Secretary

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