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Wilton Drive’s new Business Improvement District [BID] board hasn’t made any decisions yet on how to allocate funds. But the majority of board members support the Two-Lane Initiative – reducing Wilton Drive from four lanes to two and making it similar to Las Olas Boulevard.

In the past, the city commission has rejected calls to take over Wilton Drive from the state and alter it because of the estimated cost to the city. If the number of lanes were reduced, possible changes include angled parking on each side of the road as well and landscaping and pedestrian improvements.

Past estimates by FDOT put the cost of resurfacing Wilton Drive at about $500,000 every 10 to 15 years. Maintaining the street would cost about $75,000 to $85,000 per year.

But now, with the BID estimated to bring in $100,000 per year over its 10-year lifespan, it’s possible that the city could allocate those funds to make the Two-Lane Initiative a reality.

The BID generates money by levying additional taxes on property owners along Wilton Drive. The majority of property owners approved the extra millage and the money can only be spent to benefit Wilton Drive.

Commissioners would have final approval over how BID funds are spent.

“My dream would be to have it down to two lanes but it would really be up to the board,” said board chair Doug Blevins.

It will be a while though until funding is available. Property owners on Wilton Drive won’t be assessed until 2016. “We have a long way to go before the BID has any effect on Wilton Drive,” said Greg Phelps, co-owner of Village Pub. “My first goal is public safety – one of the many reasons I support [the Two-Lane Initiative],” he added. “There’s too many pedestrian incidents resulting from traffic and there are clearly not enough crosswalks.”

Robert Katz, board member and owner of Shades of the Past on Wilton Drive, said his biggest reason to support the Two-Lane Initiative is to create more parking. “Parking’s very limited for us. It’s a problem. I also think slowing the traffic down is important,” said Katz.

“I’m hoping the board can bring this to fruition and push the commission to do it,” said board member Paul Hugo, owner of The Manor on Wilton Drive. “Right now, Wilton Drive is like a highway. We want to make it like Las Olas,” said Hugo, who envisions more outdoor cafes. “[Wilton Drive] is not friendly. It’s uninviting.”

Asked how the city could keep funding Wilton Drive after the BID expires, Hugo said reducing the street to two lanes would attract more people to the city and help businesses which in turn would provide a larger tax base for the city and more revenue.

But Blevins and other board members said they will also explore other ideas for Wilton Drive, including marketing campaigns, public/private partnerships and the possible development of a hotel.

Blevins sees the BID as similar to Main Street, later renamed the Wilton Manors Development Alliance, an organization founded to support the cultural and commercial development of Wilton Drive.

The BID is an opportunity, said Blevins, to form public/private partnerships and raise funds in addition to what’s generated through taxes. “In some ways [it is Main Street] but on a much bigger scale.”

Board members Danny Scarfone, owner of Scarfone’s on Wilton Drive, James Govin and

Daniel Keester, BID vice chair, declined to comment.