Column: Now Wilton Manors Needs An Airport

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Does Wilton Manors really need a train station? It looks as if the almighty city commission is preparing to submit a grant application of $205,000 to study and develop a plan on building a train station in the Island City.

The application will be presented to the South Florida Regional Transit Oriented Development Pilot Program.

Let me get this straight: the city, in its usual wisdom and foresight, can find the space to build a unnecessary train station but in more than seven years of “studies” it hasn’t been able to put together the much needed parking garage? The parking garage that residents and visitors have been begging and clamoring for? Where are the priorities here? How do these pipe dreams come up?

According to Grant Manager Todd DeJesus, (with a name like that he should be able to make miracles happen), a potential station area has been located on a portion of the Tri-Rail Coastal Link Corridor.

The program requires a match of up to 20 percent of the total grant requested. The maximum award is $205,000 and the minimum match $41,000. The commission has set aside $50,000 of the general fund toward the station project.

I guess the train station will go hand in hand with the other major plan the city commission has been floating: Building a Hotel over the retail space at the Shoppes of Wilton Manors. Great: added noise, added traffic, added competition for the small guest houses around town. These small businesses will suffer and eventually close.

Perhaps this is the master plan to de-gay Wilton Manors. Gays began exiting South Beach several years ago after it started turning itself into Corporate America.

Same thing has happened to Key West: guesthouses advertise as “straight friendly,” bars and clubs have vanished; gays have sold their homes and moved north.

Will this happen to us? Most likely YES. You can bank on it.

In the meantime I can’t wait for the city commission to come up with a plan to build a small airport in WM.

With a train station, a hotel and an airport, economically, it would be a real boon to the city. The time is perfect for all three.

Pack your bags. Time to start looking north again.


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