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.
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.
|32nd STREET ALLEY|
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!