It’s 2015. Hollywood is a year older, just like us and indeed has too seen its share of exciting developments.

The Hollywood City Commission voted unanimously to appoint Dr. Wazir Ishmael as the new city manager. He replaced Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark who departed for a city manager position in Coral Gables.

Ishmael believes in the City and what it has to offer residents and businesses.  He had served as assistant city manager but received a unanimous vote to be the city manager at a recent commission meeting.

“I want to move the City of Hollywood forward,” said Ishmael. “We have a strong community and a strong business sector.”

Ishmael is new to his position and wants to get input from members of the City Commission on what their priorities are.

The Hollywood Commission unanimously agreed to purchase the Cosac properties and properties owned by Sean Cononie for about $4.8 million. The main property at 1203 North Federal Highway has for years served as a homeless shelter.  This facility has provided housing for the area’s homeless but has also generated many complaints from business owners and residents. It is expected that the homeless shelter will be demolished and the land redeveloped. Homelessness is  a problem in Hollywood and the City has hired Laurie Ann Walton to coordinate the efforts to help the homeless.

Work is continuing on Margaritaville which is scheduled to open during the summer in 2015. This new development is expected to attract more visitors to the beach area of Hollywood and lead to more economic development.

 

Major road and infrastructure work is about to begin in Hollywood. Section of State Road Seven/441 will be under construction until 2018 but when the work is complete, the area will be greatly improved.

Beginning on January 5, 2015, work will take place on State Road Seven from Southwest 25th Street to Fillmore Street. The work will include adding one through lane in each direction for a total of six lanes with left turn lanes separated by raised medians. There will be a new storm sewer system and retention ponds. And there will be new water and sewer lines.

Also, there will be the construction of bus bays at current bus stop locations and new curbs and gutters. There will be the addition or replacement of sidewalks with ADA compliant ramps on both sides of the road. There will be upgrades to existing signalized intersections with mast arms and the addition of pedestrian countdown timers at Pembroke Road, Washington Street and Hollywood Boulevard. The cost will be $30,674,813 and the contractor will be Marks Brothers, Inc. A second project along Fillmore Street to Stirling Road will begin in early 2015. The cost will be $29,568,100. The contractor will be Community Asphalt Corp.

Major improvements are planned for the Hollywood Boulevard Roadway Corridor between City Hall Circle and Dixie Highway. There will be extensive landscaping, new five-foot wide buffered bicycle lanes, clearly marked crosswalks , pedestrian scale lighting, on street parking and median islands. There will be ornamental plantings along the corridor including trees, palms, flowering shrubs and ground cover. There will be shade structures at crosswalks.

The Hollywood Commission approved a budget that includes $2 million to demolish and rebuild fire station 45, $1.1 million for CCTVs and $500,000 for road resurfacing. The City will spend $2,150,000 for 50 new police cars.

Hollywood residents participated in the Great Neighborhoods Challenge II. People were encouraged and rewarded for improving the exterior appearance of their homes and businesses.

Broward County voters approved an $800 million General Obligation Bond. This money will be used to make infrastructure improvements to county schools and to add more technology. A significant amount of the bond money will go to Hollywood schools. The bond will pay for major improvements to the Hollywood Hills High School building.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport opened its long anticipated South Runway. The new South Runway is 8,000 feet long and 150 feet wide. Now the airport has two fully operational commercial runways. The North Runway, which is 9,000 feet long and 150 feet wide remains in operation. 

The City of Hollywood has a new phone number for all non-emergency police and fire needs. Residents who want to speak with someone from the police or fire departments are encouraged to call 954 764 HELP.

And people are having more fun than ever in Hollywood. The Cardboard Boat Race is becoming a popular event in Hollywood. The cardboard boat race held at the Hollywood Marina continues to attract participants and spectators. Participants built their boats from cardboard and duct tape.

Many artistic events and presentations are taking place in Hollywood. Families enjoy eating from food trucks on Monday nights at the ArtsPark at Young Circle. The McArthur High School and Chaminade-Madonna High School boy’s basketball teams are enjoying winning seasons. 

All in all, the City of Hollywood simply grows greater and provides more for its citizens than ever before. Truly, a great American City. Our city, And we should be proud and do what we can to support her. Happy New Year.