In his Dec. 19 editorial, SFGN Publisher Norm Kent rightfully reminded us of the need to support low cost housing and reminded us against the NIMBY (not in my back yard) sentiments.
On the other hand, he cited favorably the Pride Center’s initiative toward low cost housing at Equality Park. Sadly, the two have nothing to do with each other. Nearly two years ago I attended a Pride Center Board meeting and asked to speak about the need for our community to create an assisted living residence for truly aged and needy LGBT residents of Wilton Manors within the Pride Center’s large property at Equality Park.
Even after it was clearly exposed that the Pride Center’s project is NOT for LGBT seniors, but rather any low income 55-plus persons, the myth still continues that this is LGBT housing.
If you, like me, are well past 55 and vigorous, you know this plan is not what Mr. Kent means when he says “This is an LGBT issue we must own.”
I attended the very first public meeting about this plan at City Hall, and immediately expressed my horror that the massive structure will sit right at the curb in front of the Pride Center building – in other words, smack on Dixie Highway at the most dangerous curve in our city. Since many of the proposed residences are reserved for the handicapped, the dangers of location only increase, and the Pride Center’s negligence endangers them as well.
Again and again I have written to the city commissioners about my concerns. I have learned that the Pride Center intends, once this first huge building is erected, to build additional housing on its property. So apparently there is space and there are other locations, but somehow there is a dogged persistence in making the location as detrimental as possible to the residents and to the community. The City keeps insisting it is not a done deal and there will be more hearings, but whenever we residents express our concerns about parking, about sewage, about maintenance, about oversight, the commissioners seem content with the vague assurances given them. It seems to have been a “done deal” since day one. I wonder why.
I was overjoyed when the Pride Center first opened on Dixie Highway and I applaud its many, many projects and programs. But sadly, the Pride Center has proved to be a bad neighbor: I can tell you that whenever we local residents have a problem emanating from Equality Park, it ends up with calls and letters to City Hall or to the Police Department before the administration of the Pride Center will comply with simple regulations.
I don’t even have to remind you of the serious personnel issues resulting from poor management there. All this is taking place even before the Pride Center attempts to transform Equality Park into a residential complex for which it is has no experience and which will bring a myriad of new problems, which mysteriously do not seem to bother our City leaders at all.
I wholeheartedly support the mission of the Pride Center, but I cannot see how this project has anything to do with the LGBT community or how, in any way, it benefits our beloved community of Wilton Manors.
I respectfully request of Mr. Kent that, as a journalist, to undertake some investigation.
For example, when I asked why the vision-blocking building has to sit right on the treacherous bend on Dixie Highway, I was told that the City had insisted upon that particular location, but no one connected with the City claims that decision.
I would like to know if it is true that some Board members of The Pride Center resigned this year, and if so, why?
In the past, SFGN has written about developers and politicians who have misled the commissioners and the community, so let us all hope for the sake of our town that this ill-conceived plan, once exposed of its negative ramifications, will be replaced with a genuine one, one that we can all support.