Speaking From Experience: I Have Been Fighting To Make Sure People Get A Vaccine

By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper

January 20, 2022

On Monday due to COVID-19 we did not have our Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade and Celebration. Regretfully, many of our Park Employees came down with COVID-19. Our weekly readers know that I have been fighting to make sure people get a Vaccine. I can speak from experience about how important Vaccines are. Over the holiday I traveled with my family to Colorado and while we were there I came down with COVID-19.

I believe I was exposed while grocery shopping. The store was extremely crowded. In the mountains there are limited options for grocery stores so I couldn’t turn around to leave. At first, I simply thought I ate something that did not agree with me but soon realized it was possibly COVID-19. New Year’s COVID-19 struck me down like a ton of bricks. I was sick and felt like the body snatchers had invaded me and sure enough, I tested positive. My husband, my eldest daughter and grandson did not get it, however, my son and his fiancé did. Luckily, my middle daughter did not travel since her twins are 4 and did not want to risk exposure.

I typically do not write about personal illness, but I truly want everyone to know how aggressive this is. I still have a cough after 3 weeks. I was sick in bed for three days. Even when I was feeling better all I wanted to do was sleep. At one point I woke from sleeping and I could not breathe. I quickly boiled water and steamed. I learned firsthand why people who have caught COVID-19 and have not had a Vaccine are running to the hospital. I did after 3 weeks, I got an X-Ray which showed that I did not get it from my lungs or from Pneumonia. I presume that it was the Omicron Variant and either way, it was really scary.

Sadly, I just had a tennis friend pass away this weekend. He had COVID-19 but had refused to go to the hospital. Like many of us he had a Vaccine and Boosters but was in his 80’s. He was found by his bed after not answering phone calls which is a tragedy. Please get a Vaccine and do not mess around if you get sick. Get tested if you do get sick because this is not something to mess around with. Too many people have a false sense that the Omicron Variant is not that deadly, nor do you get seriously ill from it but everyone is different.

Our City Hall is still closed to visitors. As a smaller City, we cannot afford to have our employees exposed. Our Building Department did have a few cases, but we are still up and running. Our on-line permitting is available. The Cultural Center also is closed. For updates, please visit our web-site at: www.cohb.org

Over the past months, the City Parking Program has finally been rolled out. Many of our residents are adjusting to it and I have received less and less calls about it. Luckily, it has opened up spots that were being used for storage. Some of the stories I was hearing were amazing.

Diana Drive now has plenty of spots since many vacation rentals by owners now have to pay for On-Street parking. This means more spots in that zone which includes Golden Isles Drive. On Northeast 3rd similar stories were happening. Residents rather than parking in the parking garage at Art Square were parking in the street. The best story I heard from that area was that someone got upset because they were running a rental car business from their home and had nowhere to store their cars. That’s not illegal but proves that our City needs to manage our right of ways.

There is more good news for the Fashion and Art Design District. We have approved an agreement with the FEC to lease their right of way for additional parking. We will be redeveloping the existing parking lot there. We also broke ground on the new lot. As part of the FADD we also adopted a vision to provide access along the corridor. With the limited On-Street parking. With the parking lots situated north of first avenue we are partnering with a unique shuttle service so everyone can access the businesses and restaurants.

Hallandale Beach Community Redevelopment Agency is in the process of negotiating a 9-month pilot program with Freebee. Freebee has been used in Miami and their Design District. They have grown to over 20 communities throughout South Florida, you may have seen their mini shuttles at the Beachwalk Hotel taking visitors back and forth to the beach.

They offer a safe, environmentally friendly way for pedestrians to travel throughout the City. The service will be supported by a mobile application customized for the City. It will allow users to request door-to-door service and share information about restaurants, local deals/promotions, suggested activities/destinations, ride-shares and peer experiences.

Our City and our CRA are finally seeing many of the projects that were on the shelves coming to fruition. Our goal has been to reactivate the entire Dixie Corridor. We are also partnering with the City Of Hollywood and the MPO to develop the Dixie Greenway. The project will create a complete street design that will allow for pedestrians and bike travel. This plan is still in its infancy, but I have suggested that we jump start it by entering into a Joint Participation Agreement JPA where we upfront the funds and get reimbursed when they are scheduled into the County's Work Plan.

As always, I am available anytime for your questions, concerns and ideas to make our City a better place! You Can Call Me On My Phone/Text At: (954) 632-5700. Or You Can E-mail Me At: jcooper@cohb.org. Please Visit My Facebook Page: MayorJoyCooper. Like It! Friend It! Share It!