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Joseph C. Carter Park unveils state-of-the-art football, track and field facility in Fort Lauderdale


Commissioner Bobby Dubose and Mayor Jack Seiler along with the Carter childern

Joseph C. Carter Park unveils state-of-the-art football, track and field facility in Fort Lauderdale

By Charles Moseley

     Over the years, Joseph C. Carter Park has been a place where boys and girls have developed their athletic skills and families gathered for cookouts on holidays and family reunions. Jan. 5th marked a milestone in the history of Fort Lauderdale as the city unveiled a brand new three million dollar football stadium and eight lane Olympic style track and field facilities. The project is the end result of a partnership between the City of Fort Lauderdale and the Orange Bowl Committee (OBC).

    Almost everyone who has grown up in Fort Lauderdale’s predominantly Black Northwest section of town spent a great deal of their time as youths at what was once known as Sunland Park, before being named after longtime City of Fort Lauderdale Parks & Recreation Director Joseph C. Carter. Now the football, track and field facility will be the first of its kind in Fort Lauderdale.

    Just like tens of thousands of other youngsters, Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Bobby Dubose spent a lot of time on the park playground during the 1980’s and 1990’s. The grand-reopening took on somewhat of a personal significance for Commissioner Dubose.

    “I grew up on Sunland Park. This day is one of those things when we get a new sign, new building, a new road, or new anything in our neighborhood, means a lot to me. Whenever we’re able to get a public and private partnership that is going to do something to improve the lives of our youth as well as our seniors by having a world class facility for our families, it’s a gem in the heart of our community.”

    Longtime City of Fort Lauderdale Parks and Recreation volunteer and employee Coach Johnny Alexander also shares some history with the park that goes all the way back to the 1950’s and 1960’s, when he and his two brothers, Marvin and Wilmar, honed their athletic skills in track, flag football, and basketball on the playgrounds of Sunland Park. Alexander was one of the leading advocates, along with Fort Lauder-dale Mayor Jack Seiler, who lobbied on behalf of the City before the OBC which also helped fund the project. Alexander said the completion of the project marked the realization of a life-time dream and a new beginning for a new generation.

    Coach Alexander, along with his brothers and wife Margie, have left their imprint on Fort Lauderdale’s youth athletics with work with the Fort Lauderdale Track Club and Wes-tern Tigers Youth Football Team

    “Personally, I believe today’s grand re-opening of Carter Park is a dream come true. One of the things we were hoping for during the mid-1990s when we were trying to get the bond project in place was to include the track but it had to be scrapped because it was something that we could not financially do. When it finally all came together I thought it was the greatest thing to ever happen at our park, and it was.”

    A number of professional athletes grew up developing their skills at Carter Park including NFL players Michael Irvin, Bennie and Brian Blades, Lorenzo White and former NBA Player Keyon Dooling.

    The facility is expected to be fully operational this spring, possibly as soon as February, according to City of Fort Lauderdale Parks & Recreational officials.


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