Oakland Park celebrated the Friday morning groundbreaking of the first phase of City Park, which will bring more recreational facilities to residents and visitors.
The park will have a new splash pad, playground, basketball courts, covered pavilion and ADA bathrooms, and the pickleball courts and concession stand will be renovated.
“Recreation is not a secondary concern for democracy,” said Heidi Burnett, the city’s director of library and cultural services. “It is a primary concern because the way that people spend their spare time determines the kind of people they become and the community that they subsequently build one day.”
Located at 3900 NE 3rd Ave., the public watched as city officials performed the ceremonial groundbreaking on Friday morning. Oakland Park Vice Mayor Michael Carn represented the commission and was joined by Broward County Commissioner Lamar Fisher, Florida Rep. Chip LaMarca, and former Mayors Tim Lonergan and Caryl Stevens for the event.
City Park, as well as a plethora of other city projects, is funded by a $40 million bond program approved by 67% of voters in 2018. Known as the Building Our 2nd Century/City Facilities Bond, it will also cover the construction of the Public Works Facility, North Andrews Gardens Community Center, Fire Station 9 and Fire Station 20. There will also be renovations to Park Place at Jaco Pastorius Park, Fire Station 87 and the city’s Municipal Building.
Carn, who is running for a seat in the Florida House, was a strong backer of the bond proposal and was adamant about making upgrades in the city, especially in the outdated firehouses.
“With the bond consideration, why not also include those projects that are dear and near to the community?” he asked. “This is fantastic to me. I love children, I love to see families together, I love to see them have space. Our children don’t have space ...This new facility will give them their own space identified for them.”
Lonergan was the city mayor when the bond was approved, and he attended the ceremonial groundbreaking to see it come to fruition.
“This is about the needs of the city and the people of the city of Oakland Park and they understand it’s time, it’s time for these upgrades,” he said. “This is something that Oakland Park so desperately needs, these upgrades. The splash pad is going to be so wonderful for the kids; I’m so excited about it.”
The city is also working on redeveloping its downtown and Oakland Park Design Development District (also known as OP3D), something residents in a survey agreed is a high priority for the growth of the city.
City Park was designed by Zyscovich Architects and Kaufman Lynn will be leading construction. This first phase of the project is scheduled for completion in summer 2022.
A plan of City Park, which will include a splash pad, playground, basketball and pickleball courts, ADA restrooms, and more. Courtesy Kaufman Lynn.