People looking for open, event-oriented spaces (and public bathrooms) will soon have another option on the south end of Fort Lauderdale Beach thanks to the renovation of a park on some of the city’s prime real estate.
D.C. Alexander Park sits at 501 S Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., just east of the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex and International Swimming Hall of Fame. And now, it’s getting a total makeover. If all goes according to plan, the city aims to have work done by late 2021, at which point the park will have gathering and event spaces as well as street and pedestrian improvements.
Park plans call for an elevated observation deck overlooking the ocean, a canopied playground, various green spaces and shaded seating areas, climate resiliency features including landscaped stormwater management areas along the park’s eastern and western edges, dune planting areas, a widened sidewalk on SE Fifth Street, which runs alongside the north side of the park and would be converted into a two-way street, and restroom facilities.
The city envisions the park as a versatile space that would be good for families and also offer the sort of flexible usage that would make it good for special events.
Led by the city’s Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, the work is being done as part of the city’s Central Beach Master Plan and Beach Community Redevelopment Plan.
The project is now in the design, planning and permitting stage. The city’s goal is to put the project out to bid and hire a contractor to get work started by the end of this year or early 2021.
The project comes in a part of the beach where the city’s been busy recently. Just north of D.C. Alexander Park sits the new Las Olas Beach Park. Similar to the plans for D.C. Alexander, it features mixed spaces that can be used as open park space, for picnicking or larger events.
City leaders reckon the new park will be a fitting use for a park that’s named for an early Fort Lauderdale resident who saw the beach’s potential. David Clifford “D.C.” Alexander was, Mayor Trantalis explains, “an early beach developer that was involved in building the original Las Olas Intracoastal Bridge in 1917 and operating the Las Olas Inn.” The land for the park was originally donated to the city by Alexander, as was the land that’s now home to the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex and the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
Alexander’s gift changed Fort Lauderdale. For Mayor Trantalis, new and modern park space is a way to continue changing and improving oceanfront public spaces in an area where the city’s been busy in recent years.
“We are thrilled,” he says, “to have major projects underway in these areas that will allow people to experience our iconic beach in new ways and create timeless memories for generations to come.”