Hoping to repeat the success of Wilton Drive, city officials have put out a call for a consultant to help spur the redevelopment of Oakland Park Boulevard and Andrews Avenue.

To do that, the city has decided to convert and change the land use of Andrews Avenue and Oakland Park Boulevard to a transit orientated corridor, as it did with Dixie Highway. A consultant would help with the application process and work to get approvals from the county, state and South Florida Regional Planning Council. The city commission would also have to approve the change.

“This is the first step in that process. It makes the property desirable for redevelopment…economic revitalization,” said City Manager Leigh Ann Henderson. The goal is to get higher density mixed-use projects, similar to Wilton Station, which has retail and residential units, built on the two streets. “The people living there can also be the patrons of the businesses,” Henderson said.

In October, the city released its land-use study for Oakland Park and Wilton Drive. Pedestrian, landscaping, bike lane improvements and the addition of medians are some of the improvements Keith & Associates, the engineering firm that performed the land-use study, suggested. Complete Streets, a system where pedestrians, bicyclists, cars and buses share the road, could also be implemented. When the commission discussed the study, some residents who live in the western portion of the city demanded more be done to improve their area.

Sal Torre, president of the Westside Association of Wilton Manors, was one of those who spoke out. Now, he said he’s glad to see the city moving forward. “I think we did do a little [to get them to take action]. Absolutely. We kept asking questions. They’re doing the right things they need to do to one day have Oakland Park Boulevard and Andrews Avenue blossom and be the thriving commercial areas they should be.”

City staff also tried to get a business improvement district established for Andrews Avenue, like the one for Wilton Drive. City staff said most property owners rejected the idea. If it had been approved by property owners, additional taxes would have been levied and the money would have been used to make improvements to the street and/or help market the area.

The deadline to submit proposals for the land use bids was June 21. An evaluation committee will review all the submitted proposals and city staff will present its choice to the city commission for approval on July 12 or a later meeting.


Matching grant program

As the city makes an effort to try and attract new businesses and development, a matching grant program is already in place to make immediate improvements.

Business owners on either Andrews Avenue or Oakland Park Boulevard can apply for matching funds – up to $500. The money can be used to improve the facades of their storefronts, including painting and lighting, as well as adding signage or undertaking projects that fall under the city’s green building code – including items that improve energy efficiency.

To apply, visit WiltonManors.com or call 954-390-2180.