Some Good News for 13th Street

     I love announcing good news , especially  for the 13th Street corridor in Fort Lauderdale.

     For you long time readers, you know we have been working on revitalizing 13th Street  for years – decades!

     Things seem to be really happening, finally!  Things like my son’s crazy fun thrift store, Oddballs, which is doing real well at 530 NE 13th Street –


     Well here’s more good news  ….


     Audi has bought the abandoned and troubled –  4 acre parcel – at 13th Street and the RR tracks , and they plan on building their service and detail center, (and fleet lot) there….. That is the proposed site plan above…

     The company’s local lawyer, Robert Lochrie, says Audi is excited to locate their service center for their new dealership ( which will be at the old Fuddruckers site on Federal Highway) in the oncoming 13th Street corridor.

     He says the building on 13th will have “substantial glass and lush landscaping”,  and the rear of the property will also have a 30′ landscaping buffer for the residential street behind it.

     The 13th Street Alliance Board will review the proposal at their meeting in July!

     I’m betting that they’ll love it – as I do ! 

Blocking Views

    Blocking views …..

     I’d like your opinion.

     In our town, every condo, or every building above one story tall, blocks someones’ view of something. And that makes someone very unhappy.
     The latest view-blocking proposal, that passed the Planning and Zoning Board last Wednesday, was no exception.
     It is called the Galleria Landings, and all the speakers said it was beautiful, even the group that opposed it.

              The group that opposed the application before the Planning and Zoning Board were the residents of the condo just to the south, the East Point Towers.


      East Point Towers was built in the 1970’s, and the irony is that it surely blocked someones’ view went it was built back then.

     Views mean quality of life – and – property values, and I understand why they would oppose the new building next door.  Here is the current view out the window of an East Point Tower condo window today –


     Residents of East Point have said things like

          .   “the size of the building is truly shocking”
                 ” it will become our view”
                 ” it is absurdly out of character with the neighborhood”

                   – what do you think?



Shippey Ship Shaped

     It took a village !

     Here are some photos of the resurrection of the Shippey House that took place last Saturday.

     Citizens of all stripes and philosophies came early and worked their hearts out until – voila – see for yourself …….
     (all the photos are courtesy of Cal Deal   ……thanks Cal)


     In a little over 3 hours, about 75 volunteers   …..


     Business people, historical activists, high school students, neighborhood leaders, church people, even  ……


                                        politicians !!!

    The effort took a lot of faith and trust …..


     Caldwell Cooper, (who is donating an all new front porch), almost holding the ladder for me !

     The day finished on a high note ……


      I guess the lesson is that we can save important parts of our past, yet build for the future !


Ship Shape Shippey Update


      Saturday is the day that you’ve planned to be at 220 SW 3rd Avenue,-  8 am until we finish –  to help paint and fix up one of the oldest homes in Fort Lauderdale (1913), the Shippey House, that was recently saved from the wrecking ball.

                 Here are some updates on the effort

         …….  you’ve always wanted to park at the dreaded parking meter, don’t put in a quarter, don’t get a ticket! ….. all parking enforcement suspended in the historic district on Saturday from 8 am until 3 pm!


      ……  if you can bring a tall ladder, your favorite paint brush, a wheelbarrow, a five gallon bucket, pruning shears or loppers, hard rakes, shovels, or little painting containers, please do so – we are running short on those items ….

      ……  breakfast ( coffee and donuts or bagels) will be there waiting for you ( compliments of the DDA, who will also be buying the volunteers lunch).

        ……..  the roofing company, Nast Roofing, is putting on a new roof for the cost of the materials ( $3000).  So far the Motwanis have contributed $1000 towards those roofing materials. 

     I committed to paying the roofer if enough donations didn’t come in to pay him – ( we now need $2000)  ….. wait, wait  … the phone just rang and a gracious man/anonymous donor was calling and donated $500 towards the roof! … 

    But please come by with a check on Saturday to help cover the  (now $1500) shortfall to pay the roofer, or let me sleep in your spare room as my garage is mighty hot and uncomfortable ( call wife Cindy for details

      ………   although the weather looks like it will hold out for Saturday, we are holding Sunday open as a rain date just in case…..

    ……lastly, Commissioner Romney Rogers has sent out this plea for help as well  –

                    A Message from Commissioner Romney Rogers

     I encourage everyone to join us on Saturday, June 15th as we “Shape Up the Shippey House!”
     Families, friends, and neighbors are all invited to 220 S.W. 3rd Avenue from 8 am to
noon to help us clean, paint, and spruce up a home that has stood in our City for 100 years and was once the residence of Judge Fred Shippey, the second judge in the history of Broward County.
     It’s a great way to do something positive for our community, meet your neighbors, make new friends, and help give some much-needed tender loving care to one of Fort Lauderdale’s true historic treasures.
I look forward to seeing many of my fellow Rotarians from the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Rotary Club participating in this important service project, and I encourage other organizations to come out and join us in this effort.
So put on your work clothes, grab your gloves, and get ready to make a difference! See you on Saturday!

Romney Rogers

Commissioner, District IV

And I’ll see you there too !   ….Tim   954-822-4727

Now is the time for all good citizens ……

     …….  to come to the aid of their City !!!


                                 Your help is needed

     This Saturday, June 15th, starting at first light, lots of citizens in good standing will come together to paint and otherwise begin to fix up the historic Shippey House.

     The Dade County Pine home is one of the oldest structures in the city – 1913 – and has a really interesting story behind it. It was moved last year to the historic district, just days before being demolished by the wrecking ball.

      But,  it is a mess ! Here’s what it used to look like in its’ hay day, and will look like again – God willing –


     Besides the fact that the house is so very old, their is another great reason to restore and save it. The house was owned by Browards’ very colorful, second-ever Judge, Fred Shippey.


      Shippey was quite a character. First off, he was appointed to be the County’s second Judge after the first one expired, even though he wasn’t even a lawyer, but a farmer! Apparently Shippey had a few good contacts ! (After Shippey, Boyd Anderson was appointed – he was a lawyer!)

     Shippey made a distinct  mark for himself as the County Judge.

      In one infamous ruling, he declared that the Pompano Race Track wasn’t really gambling, and didn’t have to close. He decreed, creatively,  that the wagers at the track were really just “donations to the horse owners “! In another ruling, Shippey declared that “fines for drunkenness would be discontinued” and replaced with “hard labor on the County road crew”!

     But Shippey had a softer side as well, chairing an organization that helped crippled children. One thing he was most proud of is that he presided over 1000 juvenile cases, and never had a re- offender ( they were probably afraid of the road crew!)

     And as Judge, Shippey was also in charge of probate, misdemeanors, and marriages. He opened his home for marriage ceremonies of the rich and famous of the times for their nuptials. Probably the most famous  being the wedding of Tarzan!


     So, will you come and help on Saturday?  Just show up in painty clothes, the brushes ( and lunch) will be provided.

     If you don’t think you can paint, or plant and mulch, just come by and pour the workers some lemonade, or just chat up the non-profit that is spearheading the restoration. Maybe you can help in other ways! You will also be able to chew the ears of some of today’s big shots ( and City Commissioners), they will be there painting with us.

                                               Saturday, June 15
                                                   8 am – until
                                               220 SW 3rd Avenue

                        ( call me if you have questions – 954-822-4727) …Tim



So, Is This Racism ?

     It seems so to me.

     At the last Fort Lauderdale City Commission meeting, Sistrunk Boulevard, the Main Street of the historically black community in the center of Fort Lauderdale, was again the topic of discussion.


     Commissioner for the area, Bobby Dubose,  tried for a second time to extend the street name –Sistrunk- from its’ current terminus on the west side of the RR tracks, a few more blocks down to Federal Highway.

    [ As late as the 1960’s, blacks in Fort Lauderdale had to stay on the west side of the tracks after dark, were not allowed to swim in the ocean with whites, and had no say in the City Government.]


     Now, you might remember that at the end of the Sistrunk road improvement project a few years back, the road contractor mistakenly installed the Sistrunk name on street signs all the way down to Federal, instead of stopping the name a few blocks short – on the west side of the RR tracks. Opposition was swift and the contractor had to remove the signs like this one.


     At the time, the opposition was led by Charlie King, (a Victoria Park resident and City Commission gadfly), and some local neighborhood leaders also piled on and cried foul at the renaming.

      King is  known for his outlandish statements like

      “I always thought Confederate Highway instead of Federal Highway had a nice ring to it”,

      and “from my point of view, Sistrunk is probably the scariest street in Broward County, and

      Sistrunk is “choked with drunken criminals and hooligans, and

      “people associate it (Sistrunk) with drugs, murder, and prostitution“.


      At last Tuesday’s meeting, King had a little help on his mission to stop the street renaming from, surprisingly, Commissioner Dean Trantalis.

     Trantalis is known for his work on human rights! 


     Trantalis was apprehensive. He said renaming the road Sistrunk, to Federal,  “was a touchy subject”.

     Mayor Seiler countered “it’s a touchy subject on the other side too!”.  Trantalis then offered another idea – why don’t we name it “Alcee Hastings Street”. That fell flat.

     Seiler said naming the road Sistrunk was the “right thing to do”. and the other Commissioners agreed.. Seiler added that Dr. James Sistrunk had delivered 6000 children in the community before hospitals were segregated in the 60’s. He said that Sistrunk was “a prominent individual, that deserved to be recognized”. He added that the NE 6th Street name could also be displayed on the sign…

     Trantalis asked for time to talk to the neighborhoods in the vicinity to try and get their buy-in. Chances are he won’t get Kings’!

                                              Stay Tuned …. Tim




Dixie Traffic Plan – Battle Rages!

     One thing I learned well, as a Commissioner,  is that the topic of traffic changes – ie road closures, speed humps, diversions, even stop signs etc.,  bring the people out – but they don’t always bring out the best in the people !

                                                              Commish Tim

Now, there’s plan brewing to change Dixie Highway, ( in my own neighborhood), from NE 13th Street to the city line – sides have been drawn, and a probably tense meeting is set for this Thursday to try and figure it all out.

                          Here’s the story

    Last summer, the residents of Middle River Terrace worked up a plan for a new and  improved Dixie Highway. It included a “shared path” (part sidewalk / part bike path), removed from the roadway – something like this …..


     All was good – there was universal support for the plan – until …..

                  ……..   City Hall said, on second thought, you can’t have your shared path after all. You will have to accept a plan that widens Dixie Highway by eight feet, adding bike lanes to the roadway, essentially making this small neighborhood road, wide, like a three lane highway ! Yikes !

      City officials said they were looking for “connectivity” to the cities to the north.

             ……  the neighborhood was not happy  ….. so the City said, OK, never mind that, we’ll just squeeze the road down to  “ten foot lanes ” from “twelve foot lanes”, and then we’ll just have to widen Dixie by four foot!

     [ The City has never reduced lanes to ten feet on a collector street  like Dixie. They have only done it on small side streets like this one in Flagler Heights.] Middle River Terrace would be the proverbial guinea pig.


      Many residents were quite shocked.  This tweaking seemed to worsen the plan even more! Dixie would be made to look like the road above, but without the median separating the opposing lane, and a bike lane added where the curbing is, with curbing after that!

     Kind of like an extreme traffic roller-dome!

     A group of the Middle River Terrace residents, including most all of the former presidents ( me included), think this plan is misguided and dangerous, and should be scrapped. They say the original neighborhood plan with the shared path was far better, and should be built.

     They point to these facts –

     1.) ….. too many cars use Dixie everyday to make it a skinnier roadway, with go fast bikes in the single-lane roadway also.


     The group is afraid if the city plan is built, we’ll soon see headlines like these –


     Here is a standard Uhaul truck –


     With the mirrors, it measures almost ten feet! Two trucks, like this one, (UPS, FEDEX, big pick-ups etc.) won’t be able to pass one another comfortably on Dixie without veering into the bike lanes – where the bikers are !

     Now the other side of the debate is led by the current neighborhood President Laura Croscenco, who is pushing hard to accept the city plan. She is afraid if we don’t, we’ll end up with no improvements at all.


     Croscenco is quite angry. She sent an e-mail out to all the neighborhood residents yesterday dismissing the neighborhood’s original plan, telling everyone to vote for the City plan only. Word has it that she has been giving Commissioner Dean Trantali
hell for having the City offer both the City plan, and the neighborhood’s original plan as alternatives at the meeting.

  I hope the poorly thought out city plan fails – and I hope the meeting set for this Thursday to discuss the multiple options finds the participants ruly, and on their best behavior –

              ……..  and I hope I’m one of them!