Community Development Block Grant [CDBG] funding totaling $65,000 is waiting to be spent on the Highland Estates neighborhood.
Located north of Northeast 26 Street and east of Northeast 6 Street, Highland Estates is the only area of the city that qualifies for the funding. The funding, provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is given to cities to address unique community development needs.
In the past, Wilton Manors has used CDBG funding to buy and develop the 14-space overflow parking lot near Island City Park Preserve. Other uses include fitness stations, fencing, sidewalks, a drainage system, solar lighting, landscaping and street resurfacing.
Resident Michael Rajner said the city hasn’t looked “outside the [park’s] fences” enough when using the funding to improve Highland Estates. He suggested improving sidewalks on Northeast 8 Avenue and said the city needs to make Highland Estates, and the city overall, more pedestrian friendly for people in wheelchairs.
Carlos Fernandez agreed with Rajner. Recently out of a wheelchair, Fernandez said sidewalks are often ill-equipped to handle wheelchairs and sometimes he had to get into oncoming traffic to get around.
Resident Norman Schwartz also wants to see sidewalks improve. In a letter to commissioners, he said he regularly walks around Highland Estates with his dog and requested that more shade trees be added along the streets. Like Rajner, he also wants the city’s parks to be more dog-friendly.
“I enjoy being able to sit in our parks to read a book on my walks, but with the city not having dog welcoming parks within walking distance, I rarely visit the parks to enjoy their beauty,” wrote Schwartz.
Commissioner Julie Carson agreed that parks should be more dog-friendly.
The commission will decide how the CDBG funds are spent at a future commission meeting. Residents can still submit their ideas to the city manager’s office. Call 954-390-2100.