Committed To Becoming More Age-Friendly
The year 2011 marked the celebration of Fort Lauderdale’s Centennial. The historic milestone offered us an opportunity to observe and honor our City’s past. It was a time when neighbors young and old could reflect upon how Fort Lauderdale began, recognize the challenges we had overcome, and appreciate the accomplishments we had achieved. It also was an opportunity to reflect on where we wanted to go, what we want our city to look like in the future. In 2013, City Commission adopted a Vision Plan that incorporated 15,000 responses from residents focusing on the priorities that mattered most to them. Using input from residents and community members the city formed a common mission, “We Build Community”. The Vision plan incorporates 12 aspirational goals, 38 objectives, 191 strategic initiatives, and 142 performance indicator targets. The number one priority of the Vision is to create a multi-modal pedestrian friendly city. The city adopted its 5-year action plan (Press Play) to implement this goal and has committed to improving transportation choices for all residents.
Many of the initiatives in this plan support all of the areas within AARP and the WHO eight domains of livability. The collaborative efforts of the Transportation and Mobility Department (TAM), Department of Sustainable Development and the Parks and Recreation Department have enabled the Complete Streets initiative to become a reality within our city. The Complete Streets approach addresses all three aspects of sustainability: people, planet and profit. It incorporates sidewalks or walking paths; bike lanes or paved shoulders; lanes for buses, trolleys or other mass transit vehicles; medians to allow resting and with features to slow traffic at key stopping points; an increased number of crossings and transit stops; innovative signals to increase accessibility for people of all abilities; improved drainage and swales; and green infrastructure, in order to support the ideas of community building, “placemaking” and the livability of a neighborhood. The plan improves the efficiency of streets so that people can get where they need to go easily and conveniently no matter their mode of transport. Complete Streets also supports urban design concepts such as: mixed use development, transit-oriented design, and densification.
Our approach also removes vehicles from the road, reduces greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and improves air quality. In addition, this method also alleviates congestion to make businesses more accessible and walking safer and more pleasant for the community. This increases foot traffic to retail and also increases the attractiveness of local buying. Complete Streets also helps to engage all community members in the cultural arts by connecting residents and visitors with attractions like Parker Playhouse and the War Memorial Auditorium through the city’s trolley system and improved walk ways.
The City of Fort Lauderdale regularly evaluates its services and programs to make sure that all members of the community are being served. After evaluating some of our key programs, it was determined that the city was lacking programs that serve older adults. The resulting information prompted the city to re-exam programs and services directed to this population. Consequently, the city developed and implemented Club 55 in 2015. The program offers equitable, inclusive and enriching experiences to members of the community. Services of Club 55 provide adults, aged 55 and older the opportunity to engage in a vast array of programs and services. The program includes guest speakers, local organizations and agencies that can help provide services, training or support. Additionally, outings, social activities, fitness and other health related activities create a balanced program. Club 55 addresses 4 domains of age friendly, livable communities including social participation, respect and social inclusion, community and information, community and health services along with civic participation and employment. This comprehensive program which involves programming at over 11 parks across the city, allows members of the community to participate in monthly roundtables, attend fitness classes, take part in bi-monthly outings along with a bi-monthly coffee and conversation series. Each conversation focuses on different topics and may have local subject matter experts join in to add depth to the topic. Club 55 also works with community partnerships such as the Urban League, Communities of Promise, Broward Health and the YMCA and others in order to provide an encompassing community program. This program is offered to both residents and non-residents alike. The annual fee for the membership is $55. Individuals that meet need based application requirements may receive membership for a reduced rate of $5.50 annually. The reduced rate option ensures that all members of the community interested in the program are able to participate no matter of financial restrictions, further supporting the city’s commitment to inclusion. As a Parks and Recreation agency, we believe that interdepartmental and community collaboration sits at the center of our ability to meet community need expectations. We demonstrate this commitment through surveys, regular community meetings with active participants and projects that incorporate cross-departmental collaborations.