Those of you who keep an eye on city commission business know that the Wilton Manors City Commission approved an update to the city’s strategic plan earlier this year.
There are six equally critical goals in the plan, and one of them is economic development. What exactly does economic development mean to us? It’s how we make Wilton Manors a place where retailers, developers and other businesses want to relocate, and where existing businesses want to stay.
As a city commissioner, I want to do everything in my power to encourage economic growth and thoughtful redevelopment. With the leadership of the city commission and the consensus of our residents, comprehensive zoning and land-use changes have just been adopted to help foster strategic redevelopment and attract much-needed private investment along many of our major commercial corridors. I am very grateful to everyone who took the time to participate to make that process a successful one.
While the city has had success with the revitalization of Wilton Drive as a premier entertainment destination, I must acknowledge that we still have a lot of work to do together in our other commercial districts, i.e., along the avenue. Most of the retail in the city is clustered in one district and it is largely occupied by one industry sector. For our city to remain regionally competitive and economically diverse, we have to strengthen our other major commercial corridors and position ourselves as a best-in-class business and tourist destination.
With the support of a grant from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the city has embarked on a strategic process to help define the unique character and identity of each of its districts and develop a marketing and branding strategy to foster private investment and business attraction. The project will focus on conducting a market assessment and land use analysis, gathering input from community stakeholders, analyzing industry sectors, identifying potential development opportunities, and recommending strategies to drive economic activity on Andrews Avenue, Dixie Highway, Oakland Park Boulevard, Wilton Drive, and 26th Street. Remember, it’s not just about identifying what businesses we’d like to see, but what businesses would want to be where we would like to see them!
Last week, I met with the consultants from Redevelopment Management Associates (RMA) to share my thoughts on how we can develop a strong and reliable identity for each commercial corridor. I shared many of the ideas and concerns residents and businesses have shared with me. More of your input is absolutely needed.
The city will be hosting a project kickoff meeting on January 18, 2022 at 7 p.m. at Hagen Park to provide updates on the project, gather your input, and answer your questions. I encourage everyone to come out and provide feedback as we envision our Island City for the next decades. This is an important chance to be heard, so I urge you to be there, and to invite a friend.
- Chris Caputo, Wilton Manors City Commissioner