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The Heart and Soul of the community

Renderings01 The Heart and Soul of the communityThe Heart and Soul of the community

By Bobby R. Henry, Sr.

      For once the plans laid by others who have beat back the tide of continual negligence by some of the City of Fort Lauderdale previous and seated leaders is coming to fruition.

     A community meeting arranged by Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Bobby DuBose was held on March 6, 2014 to discuss the funding request put forward by the Sistrunk neighborhood and business community.

“We are always enthusiastic when our community turns out for a meeting relating to the future and quality of life issues.  The Sistrunk Marketing Plan Community meeting was not only well attended but the direct input from our neighbors was invaluable,” states Commissioner Bobby B. DuBose.

Looking for ways to create an equal amount of spending in all Community Redevelopment Areas (CRA) seemed to be the underlining theme that created the need for this meeting.

“Thank you all for coming out this evening to show support for making  the Sistrunk Corridor a better place to live, to do business work and play,” was  Al Battle, director of the NW Progesso Flagler Heights CRA’s opening statement.

Battle’s area of assignment is commonly known as the Sis-trunk CRA, where he wants to create better funding initiatives, making redeveloping a reality and to recreate a better message concerning the Sistrunk Cor-ridor.

“We want to include all areas and not be seen as marketing to one section. We are trying to develop a comprehensive marketing approach to include all areas. Each area has a different twist with unique differences that are good for all,” Battle continued.

This plan is in the same vain that was presented to the City and the CRA, from the Flagler Village Improvement Association. The arrangement, with a concentration in three main areas: marketing, security, and events, was granted.

The funding request is similar and if approved may require an amendment to the FY 2014 budget and be included in budget requests for future years.

The residents, business and property owners who have com-posed and are requesting  funding  are get requests for future years.

The residents, business and property owners who have composed and are requesting funding  are members of the Midtown Business Association, the Chamber of Commerce and or property owners in the area.

Albert Tucker, vice president, multicultural business development for The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau(GFLCVB), sees the

value of such a plan.

“The Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB is excited about the Sistrunk initiatives as it goes hand in hand with the CVB priority to push tourism through the community so that it can enhance the growth economically, “affirmed Tucker.

Tucker’s department is  assigned to make certain that organizations and families of color choose Greater Fort Lauderdale as the destination of choice for conferences and family reunions.

As a part of this community meeting a well prepared and extremely professional Marketing Plan presentation entitled, ‘The Heart and Soul of the Com-munity’ was presented by Dennis Wright, president of Simply I.T., a business designed to help small to medium size businesses grow through the use of cost effective technology.

This plan and proposal cause for a continual improvement in infrastructure and safety. Wayfinding technology, and the effective use of media and community events at a cost of $1.3 million over a five year period. Wright was well received not only because of his professionalism but his foundation is built and rooted in the surrounding area of the Sistrunk Corridor.

“ I was born and raised here in Fort Lauderdale as matter of fact my address was 420 NW 7th Ave.”

“There has been and continues to be significant improvements in the Sistrunk community that not only benefit the residents and businesses but surrounding communities as well. This marketing plan will ensure that people through-out the United States know that the Sistrunk community is a great destination rich with African-American history and opportunity,” stated Wright.

Wright’s family owned Helen’s Nursery, started in 1954, one of the prominent nursery schools in the area. The school was named after his grandmother, Helen Morris, affectionately known as Ms. Helen. Her and her son Johnnie ‘Popsie’ Wright, Dennis’ father, were well know throughout the community for their devoted service to educating the young.

The historic and viability of the Sistrunk Corridor was reemphasized by another homegrown and committed City employee, Greg Brewton, director, City of Fort Lauderdale, Department of Sustainable Development.

“Sistrunk has a history of having vibrant businesses like the Victory Theater and clothing stores/ dry cleaners, etc. and we had famous residents like Dr. Mizell and Dr. Sistrunk as well. We need to bring that back.”

Commissioner DuBose rein-forced the work of the people behind the objective and the willingness of the city to help.  “The overall presentation given by the Sistrunk Community Council did an excellent job of outlining the objectives that were used to identify the initiatives/projects that would be submitted for funding by the Northwest Progresso Flagler Village CRA (NPF-CRA).  While some of the initiatives are underway or have been identified by the NPF-CRA as priorities, it is important to note that objectives expressed in the presentation are in sync with the objectives of the NPF-CRA.”

If the GFLCVB’s mission as a hospitality leader is to promote travel and drive visitation to and within Greater Fort Lauderdale, then this plan is a natural fit for the Heart and Soul of the community.

            The Sistrunk Community Council will present the funding request to the NPF-CRA advisory board on March 26, 2014.  The meeting will be at City Hall, 8th Floor at 3:30 p.m.  For more insight to the plan contact Dennis Wright at dwright@simplyit-inc.com or (954) 519-0002.

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    About The Author

    Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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