Dear Broward County Residents,
I am honored to serve as your county commissioner, representing our coastal communities from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale and all of the amazing communities in between. Here are some recent highlights from around Broward County.
Convention Center Expansion and Headquarters Hotel Update
The Broward County Commission initiated a landmark project to expand the existing Convention Center facility and add an on-site headquarters hotel. The vision for the project is to expand the Convention Center by 300,000 square feet and add a headquarters hotel with at least 800 rooms that takes full advantage of the services around this great location. The planned expansion and new on-site hotel at Broward County's Convention Center is expected to bring an immediate positive economic impact not only to the local community, but also throughout the state. This expansion can generate larger events, more meeting attendees and increased overnight stays. With larger events and more traveling conferences, there is also an expected increase in full time jobs available for residents of Broward County as well as increases in local and state tax revenues.
Broward County’s longtime vision of expansion and an on-site convention headquarters hotel will become a reality in the near future and while the current 600,000 square foot facility is already the core of a successful meeting and convention location, future growth is on the horizon to accommodate the numerous inquiries and needs of larger events. The economic impact analysis of the Convention Center expansion reported over 47 more events annually, an estimated 50 percent increase in new attendees, and more than 115,000 new annual overnight stays. The report also stated that new annual spending of $83.1 million (in 2013 dollars) can be made by delegates, exhibitors and event organizers, providing 721 permanent full-time jobs, more than $96 million in future annual tax revenues (in present value); more than $70 million to the State of Florida, $21 million to Broward County and $1.1 billion in recurring economic impacts over a 20-year period.
Recently, the Board of County Commissioners (Board) was presented with the conceptual design for the Convention Center Expansion and Headquarters Hotel Project. These conceptual drawings are based on feedback from the Board, the City of Fort Lauderdale and the County team (staff and consultants). Many of the features were discussed and incorporated in the conceptual design. These features include: creating a synergy between the meeting and event facilities of the Hotel and Convention Center expansion, connecting to existing facilities, adding a new event courtyard to create a center of activity on the Port Everglades waterfront, and maximizing economic return through flexibility. The location of the Hotel was also very important, therefore locating the Hotel on the current site of the Portside Yachting Center was critical to connect directly into the existing Convention Center. The County Commission unanimously agreed to acquire the Portside Yachting Center property to maximize the overall project area.
This creates a more efficient and sensible traffic flow and maximizes views of the waterfront for both the community and guests. Also included in the design is the creation of an iconic place that utilizes a campus approach and connects all facilities with a public open space system for community recreation and events and creates a pedestrian friendly environment that can be supported by retail and entertainment venues. Additionally, in order to encourage public transportation and significantly improve traffic flow, the location of the intermodal space will be located at the front door providing space for traffic to be on the property instead of on the street, efficient drop off and pick up access, and easy access to parking as well as the street.
An updated construction schedule was also provided that gives the community a good idea of the major components of the project. Ground breaking is expected for late fall 2018 and the entire facility is expected to be open to the public by late fall 2021. As your Broward County Commissioner, this is a project that I have been extremely excited about and I’m looking forward to seeing it come to fruition. This expansion and new headquarters hotel will not only create an iconic destination in Broward County, it will also provide residents with a beautiful public destination right in our own back yard.
Port Everglades Update
The Board of County Commissioners recently approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Broward County’s Port Everglades and Royal Caribbean Cruises. The MOU provides the framework for a new long-term business agreement that includes complete, customized renovations of Port Everglades’s Cruise Terminal 25, which is slated for completion by October 31, 2018. The MOU allows negotiations to move forward toward a final agreement that must be approved by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners. The new agreement will be effective on January 1, 2018, and expire on Sept. 30, 2026 with options to extend the agreement for four years, followed by another five years. Royal Caribbean Cruises also announced that the newest Celebrity Cruises ship Celebrity Edge will be in Port Everglades beginning in the fall of 2018.
State-of-the-Art 911 Technology
Broward County’s Regional 911 Consolidated Dispatch Centers are now using Motorola Solutions' PremierOneTM Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) system to more rapidly and accurately communicate critical information with police, fire and other first responders to help residents, business owners and visitors during emergencies. The new CAD system is one element of Broward County's $113 million investment in emergency communication operations and system improvements, which have already resulted in Broward County having one of the fastest emergency response times in the nation.
Nearly 20,000 public safety professionals are impacted by this rollout along with Broward's residents. This is the largest PremierOne CAD cutover in the United States, involving 150 workstations, 31 interfaces and 3500 mobile units. Dispatchers use PremierOne CAD to capture and quickly communicate critical information with first responders. While on route to an incident, the new system gives first responders access to prioritize mission-critical information such as the nature of the emergency, and possible hazards or conditions at the location. 911 customers are encouraged to provide feedback on their call experience through an online feedback form, or by calling the Broward County Call Center at 311. Feedback will be used to enhance the 911 experience for future users.
April is Water Conservation Month
Broward Water Partnerships is educating residents about the importance of saving water with an effort to reward those whose friends participate in a rebate program. Anyone who has already received a rebate for trading a water-guzzling toilet for a WaterSense® High Efficiency model or is in the application process, can win an extra $100 by convincing five friends to take advantage of the program. All rebates must be processed and completed by April 30, 2017.
For more information visit ConservationPays.com or call 800.270.9794.
The Resident's Guide to Government provides a convenient resource to help people stay connected to their local government. It includes contact information for County officials and Federal, State, and local agencies. Visitors can subscribe to eNews and social media sites. Please sign up at www.Broward.org/District4 to receive email updates from our office. If there is anything that we can do to assist you with your vision for a better Broward, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954-357-7004 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, it is my honor and privilege to serve you.