The Year of Infrastructure: Focusing on Sustainability, Resiliency and A Brighter Green Future
By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper
June 2, 2022
This article is Part IV of my State of the City. It is written in Speech Form. It was delivered In-Person and hosted by the Chamber of Commerce at the Flamingo Room located at Gulfstream Park.
I would like to say that 2022 will be the year of infrastructure that will continue over the next few years. Just like your homes or businesses we need to make necessary improvements. These plans are expensive, invasive and will create some difficulties when traversing our City.
We all have been impacted with failing water values and regretfully breaks. Fortunately, we have not had catastrophic breaks like you are seeing in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. There is over $200 Million Dollars of infrastructure needs. We know this since laying the groundwork in our Basis of Design Report. Some of our pipes are well over 50 years old. In water projects alone the price tag is $40 Forty Million Dollars in this first round.
This year we were extremely fortunate to receive $15 Fifteen Million Dollars in Grant Funding from our state. The Governor held a press conference to highlight his work and these grants called Rebuild Florida General Infrastructure with a focus on resiliency and water infrastructure. Our City was one of the largest recipients. The Grant will help pay to modernize five of our lift stations and two large force mains and update our Telemetry Monitoring Systems. Due to the amazing work of Directors Jeff Odoms and his Staff, these projects were shovel ready.
The other projects will be funded through Revenue Bonds. Including the rest of our Lift Stations, an additional Reverse Osmosis Skid for more water capacity and various force mains. This Revenue is based on our Utility Fees.
Communication will be key to rolling these projects out and our Staff has developed a communications plan to ensure our residents and business owners that will be directly impacted by constructions are informed. As you can see there is plenty of work that we must do to take our City to the next level.
Moving forward, our Commission and Staff will be discussing this funding source and strategic plan to educate all of our stakeholders on the cost and benefits of investing in our City. We know and see the daily impacts of Climate Change and Sea Level Rise and we must prepare.
In 2018, we hired an amazing Sustainability Coordinator who regretfully has moved west to Oregon, Allyssa Woods. While she was here, she worked on our Sustainable Action Plan to continue to reduce greenhouse gasses. We continue to focus on sustainability, resiliency and a brighter green future from the ground up. I was proud as your Mayor to sign on to Commitment 50 by thirty. Reducing our emissions by 50 percent by 2030.
In other infrastructure news, we have embarked on Green our Transportation System. The City has been replacing our minibus system with all electric buses. The project has been underway before COVID-19 and obviously like many other projects was delayed.
Currently, we are out to bid to build our charging location at DPW. I want to thank our many partners at Broward County Transportation that have been collaborating closely with us, our CRA and State have been collaborating closely with our Staff with both technical and much needed funding support. In 2020, we invited stakeholders out to see a demo of our buses. The buses alone have had issues on the manufacturing side and will be here hopefully in 16 months. Our goal is to have the system constructed and up and fully running in 2024.
I am sure there will be questions about traffic after my presentation. So, I will continue with one of my favorite topics, Parks. Back in 2014, I had lobbied for our Parks Master Plan. Our Parks at best were antiquated and downright shabby. I envisioned a place for all ages to play and have a place to go to relax and enjoy. I know that when you build parks it uplifts our resident’s quality of life but also our Economy. With over 64% approval on the Ballot, we began by investing $54 Fifty Four Million Dollars to rebuild.
The first phase of our Parks began with our CRA. We then adopted an aggressive plan to build out all Parks in 6 years. We were on schedule but with political change, the Master Plan was delayed. The work slowed but it was not stopped. We held our Grand Opening of Golden Isles Park and Golden Isles Tennis Center last year. As a tennis player, it thrills me to see the level of play taking place. We now have PickleBall too! And on occasion we get a visit for the World Champion Bryan brothers and Champion Ranked Player Slone Stephens.
We still have Phase III of the Parks to complete. This past month, we awarded the contract to build Sunrise Park. This will be a brand-new expanded neighborhood Park on the corner of Northeast 4th Street and Northeast 8th Avenue. We will also be constructing upgrades to our Curci Historic Village. Sadly, due to construction costs that are now escalating and are up to 40% due to COVID-19 and supply chain issues, we will not have the capital to finish Chaves Lake.
Our plans are to work towards Grants on the State and National levels.
I just brought up the idea of going out for an RFP or RFI to see if we can create a public private partnership to build. I envision a great partnership like we have with the YMCA. There may be untapped partnerships.
As you can see, there are many challenges ahead, but I along with the Commission, City Manager Dr. Earle and our talented team are ready to meet the challenges.
As always, feel free to contact me anytime with your questions, concerns and ideas on how to make our City a great place to live, work and play! I am available by Phone or Text At: (954) 632-5700. E-mail me At: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit my Facebook & Web-site At: www.MayorJoyCooper.com.