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Tonight, as I write this week’s article, the New Moon welcomes a new year for many around the globe.

Lunar New Year celebrations have begun welcoming in the Year of the Tiger, one of 12 zodiac animals associated with each year in a rotating cycle. This joyous 15-day celebration welcomes in new energy and new beginnings, a time to put the past behind and look forward to a fresh start.  

Perhaps we need to take a similar approach here in our Island City, a time to look past how things have been done in the past and look to make a fresh start. We need to leave the word “NO” out of the vocabulary for a change. “No,” the county will not allow landscaping along NE 26th Street. “No,” FDOT will not put a pedestrian crosswalk on Powerline by Mickel Park or lower the speed limit to 35 mph or clearly mark the bicycle lanes. “No,” Leisure Services cannot fund a new children’s playground at Hagen Park. “No,” for Impact Fees to support Public Art. “No,” to a municipal parking facility by City Hall. “No” seems to be the answer to many issues that keep resurfacing here in our Island City.

Perhaps we can look to the Year of the Tiger for some guidance as we move ahead.

The tiger is associated with bravery, courage and strength. These are definitely characteristics our community needs if we are to overcome the obstacles of the past and to achieve the goals we are seeking. Why can’t we have streetscaping, proper bike lanes, safer streets for pedestrians and bicyclists?  

Courage and strength for the many in our community will be what is required to go head-to-head with outdated regulations, a culture that does not embrace the power to dream, and those who are all too quick to say “NO” it can’t be done that way.

The tiger is also viewed as an uplifting animal that gives people hope. Hope is a good thing — hope lets us dream of a better tomorrow. Hope inspires us, it reduces the feeling of helplessness and drives us to succeed. Hope leads to action.

I am hopeful that our community will succeed in advocating for officials on a local, regional and state level to address public safety concerns along Powerline Road. The main three issues that this community would like to see addressed are 1: lower the speed limit to 35 mph. Two: install a crosswalk by Mickel Park. Three: improved roadway stripping with clearly marked bicycle lanes. These improvements and public safety measures are for the stretch of Powerline Road from Sunrise Blvd in Fort Lauderdale to NW 29th Street in Wilton Manors. A stretch of roadway that is almost entirely residential, with school and park facilities, not the commercial or industrial corridor believed by many. These safety concerns have been asked for many times, over and over for years now, all are still left undone, all have been told “No” over and over. Yet the community still hopes, still asks, still continues to meet with city, county and state officials. Perhaps this year, the Year of the Tiger, will be the year for a fresh start, for a new beginning, to make these changes finally happen.  

This community looks to new leadership on the county and state level to join with us to bring about the changes we are looking for. County redistricting has placed most of Wilton Manors within the district of the new Vice Mayor of Broward County Lamar Fisher. West of Andrews now falls under the newly appointed County Commissioner Jared Moskowitz. Also in the mix is the newly elected Fl. House Representative Daryl Campbell. Perhaps all this new leadership eager to make a difference will be just what is needed to finally bring about the changes we deem essential as we move ahead to the future, leaving the “NOs” of the past behind us.

The Florida Department of Transportation recently revisited the many concerns of the surrounding communities along Powerline Road with a Road Safety Audit. In the coming weeks some outcomes from that audit along with specific initiatives by FDOT should be forthcoming. Let us remain hopeful that the concerns of our community have been heard. Let us also remain steadfast in our determination to bring about the results we are seeking through community organization, outreach to elected officials, and public awareness.

This time of celebration for many, a time for new beginnings and new energy, shall offer us hope that we can make a difference here in our home we call the Island City. Let the spirit of the Tiger guide us with courage and strength as we seek to make our community a better and safer place for all. This hope for a better tomorrow is what makes life just better here.

Sal Torre has been a columnist for the Wilton Manors Gazette since its inception. Sal has served on the Wilton Drive Task Force, Budget Review Advisory Board, and Charter Review Board, among others. Sal is currently President of the Westside Association of Wilton Manors and Secretary for the Friend of the Wilton Manors Library. He is employed with Broward County in the Human Services Division.


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