|Posted by Anne Siren on February 19, 2013 at 3:25 PM|
By Michael d’Oliveira
Pompano Beach – Robin Jackson says the city made her street [Northwest 7 Terrace] much more pedestrian friendly, and she’s looking forward to the Community Redevelopment Agency [CRA] doing the same for Martin Luther King [MLK] Boulevard.
“It brings value to the neighborhood, it really does,” said Jackson, who added that she can now let her granddaughter rider her skateboard around the neighborhood without worrying about her going into the street.
On Feb. 7, the city held its official groundbreaking ceremony for the Northwest [NW] CRA MLK streetscape improvements. Plans for the $11 million project include 60 new parking spaces, landscape, lighting and sidewalk improvements and entryway signs for MLK and Historic Downtown Pompano. About $7 million of that money is supposed to be spent on MLK with the rest going to Downtown.
Work will start this month on replacing a water main under MLK Boulevard. Once that is complete, at either the end of May or beginning of June, work can begin on the surface improvements. The whole project is estimated to take about a year to complete. The water main is being replaced to ensure that capacity is sufficient enough to handle new development.
Officials hope that the streetscape improvements, the renovation of the Ali Building, 357 Hammondville Road, the 731 MLK Boulevard retail building and the new bus terminal at the corner of Dixie Highway and MLK will help revitalize the area and attract new development.
“Making property values go up. That’s what it’s all about,” said Carlton Moore, liaison to the Northwest Community Redevelopment Agency [NW CRA] Advisory Committee.
But not everyone has signed-off on the project.
According to Horatio Danovich, CRA engineer, seven [out of a total of 80 property owners along MLK] didn’t give the city permission to make sidewalk improvements in front of their property.
“Their property values will increase because of it,” said Danovich.
Moore said CRA officials hope making the groundbreaking will help win over the last holdouts. He compared the process to dating. Sometimes, he said, it takes more than one night out to impress someone and forge a meaningful relationship.
If the city can’t get permission from these last few property owners it will be forced to build around their properties. But, said Danovich, if the owners change their mind after funding is spent they will probably either have to pay for their own improvements or leave things the way they are now.
Whitney Rawls, NW CRA Advisory Board member, said the planned improvements “have been a long time coming. The community is in dire need of removing blight.”
But, he added, the challenge now is to make sure the improvements don’t increase property values to the point where current residents “get priced out of our own community.”