As we begin 2019, SFGN takes a look back at the most read stories from the Wilton Manors Gazette.
After news hit that a Walmart would be replacing the Kmart lot on 670 E Oakland Park Blvd, some residents in Oakland Park and Wilton Manors were for the new Walmart and some were against.
“The city would have a challenge in defending an action brought in approving the plat. It would be a challenge to defend relative to a ministerial act,” City Attorney D.J. Doody said, advising commissioners that it would be hard for the city to prevail if Walmart had sued before Oakland Park approved the project.
The planned Walmart in Oakland Park has now been approved by Broward County and Oakland Park. Now, all that’s left is a review of the plans. There have not been any further updates.
A little over a year after opening, G Spot Bar was the latest Wilton Drive business to close its doors this past February. Lisette Gomez, co-owner of G Spot, Wilton Manors’ only lesbian bar, announced the closing on social media on Feb. 16, with G Spot officially closing Feb. 18.“I would like to thank everyone who supported us from day one and never stopped supporting us. I appreciate you! Unfortunately, it was not enough. This was not my choice and it doesn’t come easy. I worked hard to build a place for the ladies to call their own, investing my retirement because I believed there would be support. My partners trusted me when I said the ladies would support us and that was not always the case,” Gomez wrote.She went on to write that G Spot lost revenue because it was forced to close multiple weeks because of Hurricane Irma, and another incident involving fried air conditioning units.
While there is no longer an official place for the ladies in Wilton Manors, Rumors has won several times for “Best Bar for Lesbians” in South Florida Gay News’ annual contest.
Also new to the drive is Club Listen located at 2440 Wilton Drive. While the bar is new the location has been home to several LGBT bars including Chardees, Progress Bar and New Moon, an iconic lesbian bar that closed years ago. Club Listen is a music-themed bar and has featured performers “The Synergy Twins” and singers Dina Martin, Deni Kent, Mickey Havens and Suzy Howard, according to the club’s Facebook page.
“Overall the intention is to create a musical environment and I understand they have booked some rather good local entertainers to perform,” a Yelp reviewer writes.
It appears the bar has already attracted a strong lesbian following.
Colohatchee Park has been used as a sex rendezvous for over a decade, and even appears on a gay cruising website, CruisingGays.com, as a place with “All kinds of guys from twinks to older gents to musclemen looking for a quick blow job.”
“Please read and believe the sign posted at the park entrance [...] "Due to environmental and criminal violations, this park will be under video surveillance." If you play with fire, you're bound to be burned,” a comment for the park on CruisingGays as far back as 2009 states. It currently holds a 1 star out of 5 rating.
Corbin Boyd, who recently ran unsuccessfully against current Wilton Manors Mayor Justin Flippen, made a statement in regards to the park on his campaign website.
“Colohatchee Park – don’t take your kids there: The bathrooms are closed due to the sexual activity in this park which has been going on for decades. We spend millions on police and park rangers yet we still have this problem. Our city’s only off leash park where dogs can run is closed two days a week. Dogs need to be walked every day – the park needs to be open every day,” a dedicated page on the website reads.
The owner of Le Boy Bar in Fort Lauderdale, Sean David, has followed through on his threat to sue the City of Wilton Manors for interfering with the opening of his gay bar, Ballz, in January of 2017.
There have so far been no court updates, but the Wilton Manors community has had mixed opinions on the club and the case.
“Johnsons is a male dancer / stripper bar. Wilton Manors was concerned because he had private rooms in his old place in FTL (yes they were getting paid for sexual activity in there). Ballz was a stupid name, tacky design and stupid concept that ruined a beloved [sports] bar location - THAT is why it failed,” one Wilton Manors local speculated.
“Good for him,” another commented, “If Hooters can operate in the tourist district on A1A, then so can Ballz in Wilton Manors. This is clearly a case of homophobia and discrimination.”
After months of discussions and a vote by the public, commissioners approved a design for the wayfinding sign program. At their May 8 meeting, commissioners voted on concept 1B, which was also the one most favored by the public.
According tothe public Wilton Manors Economic Development Task Force minutes on Sep. 12 of this past year, Director Roberta Moore stated the Axia firm is currently finalizing all the designs and locations for the wayfinding project.
Moore stated the project will be done in phases due to the budget. She also stated she will soon in the future provide the EDTF with the Capital Improvement Plan to show the five year breakdown.