burnadette-norris-weeks_web.jpgBroward County’s newest municipality, West Park, is celebrating its fifth year as an incorporated city.  With an upcoming celebration, pending grants for beautification and plans to build its own city hall, the multigenerational bedroom community is still thriving.

According to West Park’s mayor, Eric H. Jones Jr., “we are still in the black.”

Incorporated on March 1, 2005, West Park comprises the residential sub-divisions Carver Ranches, Utopia, Lake Forest and Miami Gardens.

The 2.2-square-mile city houses nearly 14,000 residents.

The five-year celebration will take place on Saturday, June 5, starting with a two-mile parade that will kickoff at 8 a.m.

Beginning at the intersection of Barack Obama Blvd. (Southwest 40th Ave.) and Countyline Road, the parade will proceed north to Southwest 25th Street, west to Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd. (Southwest 56th Ave.), and south to McTyre Park, 3501 Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd., according to the city’s Web site.

A family celebration at McTyre Park will follow.

Jones said that the city is providing workshops on finding sites and getting plans for its new city hall.

“We need to have a presence as it relates to elected officials,” he said.

“We have a rough layout of what the city hall would look like and the amount of land needed to build.”

The city has identified a 1.9-acre parcel of land on the east side State Road 7/U.S. 441, just south of Hallandale Beach Blvd., according to Burnadette Norris-Weeks, West
Park’s city attorney and interim city manager.  But the city currently has a water
retention field there.

“We are not looking to acquire land,” Norris-Weeks said, “but to look at what the city already has.”

Since West Park’s incorporation, the state of Florida has begun a reconstruction project, resulting in the widening of State Road 7/U.S. 441.  Part of the project runs along West Park’s city limits, which led the Florida Department of Transportation to take a portion of the land.

FDOT will be turning over space that would be used for retention ponds, Norris-Weeks said.  The ponds are used to capture rain water so that it does not fill roadways.

“We have worked out a deal with them to have the land given back to the city,” Norris-Weeks said.

State Road 7 serves as the division between West Park (east) and Miramar (west).

“We are striving to work something out with FDOT regarding that — to find a place to put the water,” said Jones.

It’s not the final site, Jones said, “but one that we are looking at with great interest.”

No one has submitted architectural drawings for the project, Jones said.

The city is set to receive two grants totaling $1.1 million for beautification projects on Barack Obama Blvd. and Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd., Jones said.

“We will get them over the next year,” he said.

West Park negotiated a contract with the Broward  Sheriff’s Office that allows both Pembroke Park and West Park to share BSO’s police and fire departments.

The city’s 10-year contract for waste management was initially set by Broward County, and, according to Jones, it is time to renegotiate. 

“We are having workshops now to come up with more conclusive information on that, but we plan to remain a contract city,” Jones said.  “It’s more economical for us, working that way.”

Over the next five years, he said, West Park plans to increase the number of businesses in the city and establish its own chamber of commerce.

“The 441 corridor should be completed about that time,” he said. “There are more areas to be worked, but we can begin to have businesses to move to or open on that corridor.”

He continued: “More businesses will provide our residents lower taxes.”

Developers have discussed proposals with the city, Norris-Weeks added, “but I cannot share specifics at this time because the plans are not in.  But the future looks bright as a place for businesses.”

Jones said he “heard the voices of the early naysayers” about incorporating West Park, “but life is about challenge, and to me, if there is no challenge, there is no actual incentive to do anything.” 

He continued: “Making it [West Park] work was not an option, and I don’t plan on moving because I like the area.”

Norris-Weeks said the city is still “moving forward,” and that taxes are “relatively the same” as they were when the city was part of unincorporated Broward County.

“It speaks volumes for the people who have been involved in the great things we are trying to do,” she said.


File Photo: Burnadette Norris-Weeks


WHAT:  City of West Park’s 5th Anniversary Parade and Celebration

WHERE: Parade begins at Barack Obama Blvd. and Countyline Road. The Family celebration will be held at McTyre Park, 3501 Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd. in West Park.

WHEN: Saturday, June 5th. Parade begins at 8 a.m., family celebration, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

COST:  Free and open to the public.

CONTACT:  For more information regarding the sponsorship opportunities, parade participation and vendor registration, please contact The City of West Park at 954-989-2688, or visit www.cityofwestpark.org.