A History of the Broadview Park Civic Association
Back in the early 1950’s there was nothing west of State Road 7 (US 441) except cattle, tomato fields and a few random homes. In November, 1955, Jan and Jack Washburn moved into a brand new development of 1200 homes called Broadview Park. Because they were swimming instructors, they thought it would be great to have a community swimming pool. They rallied their new neighbors to the cause. They were advised to form a civic association and incorporate with the state. In May, 1956, the association met and formally incorporated as a non-profit organization. Instead of starting with a pool, they were advised to build a community building. At that first meeting they also appointed a committee to form a volunteer fire department and a committee to develop teen activities and athletic opportunities.
The members asked the county for land for a building and the county deeded a lot on SW 46th Avenue to the association. They started to build, but couldn’t complete the building due to lack of finances, so they asked to have the deed transferred to the volunteer fire department. The Peters Road Volunteer Fire Department completed the building at 2200 SW 46th Avenue, and it is now Broward County Fire/Rescue Station 23.
In order to provide athletic opportunities for the children, the association formed the Southwest Athletic Association and asked the county where they could find land for a ball field. Although the old rockpit was often underwater, the county gave the association permission to build a baseball field there. Two of the members drove all the way to Georgia to get red clay. Additional fields were built and two little leagues were organized – the Sunset Little League and the Broadview Park Little League. In 1960 when the county decided to take over and turn the rockpit into a real park, they chose a name that was a blend of the two little leagues – Sunset and Broadview became SunviewPark.
Over the years the civic association was expanded to include the other developments in the area such as Floral Heights and Rock Hill. When talks of annexation began in 1995, the county began calling the whole unincorporated area Broadview Park. None of the surrounding cities were willing to annex Broadview Park, fearing that the area would cost them more than it would bring them in taxes.
The association organized a number of projects to benefit the community. Starting in the 1960’s they organized an annual community clean-up day with volunteers picking up litter and trucks hauling away tons of yard trash. In later years the county took over and began sponsoring the clean-up, providing the volunteers with gloves, trash bags, etc. as well as a huge dumpster. This clean-up has been held every year since that first one back in the 1960’s.
Also, going back to the 1960’s, the fire department has sent Santa Claus around the community aboard the fire truck every year at Christmas time. The residents bring out canned goods and other non-perishable food to donate to needy families in the community. The civic association provides volunteers who follow Santa with pickup trucks and collect food, toys, and cash donations to buy turkeys and milk. Working with the local elementary school the civic association gets the names and addresses of 25 or 30 needy families in the area. After Santa’s collection, volunteers meet on a Saturday to sort the food and deliver it to the families. At Christmastime, December 2012, they helped 34 families; in December 2013 they helped 83 families. In the future the limit will be 35.
Each year for many years the association encouraged homeowners to spruce up their properties by presenting plaques to the three “prettiest homes” and cash prizes for the prettiest Christmas lights.
At one point the state raised the fee for incorporation and the association allowed its corporate status to expire. Although the association occasionally became inactive, it was always revived again. For most of the years of their existence, they maintained or paid a landscaper to take care of the gardens the developers had planted in the entryway. Now the county’s Department of Highways and Bridges takes care of the gardens.
Another big project was the streetlight campaign. For over 40 years, the area was without streetlights. At night it was totally dark. In the 1990’s the association asked the county what they had to do to get streetlights. The county said they had to obtain the signatures of at least 50% of the residents. Members set out with petitions and obtained over 1000 signatures. Because most of the electric lines ran along the back of the properties, FPL required the homeowners to sign and notarize a form, giving FPL easement rights to run a wire from in back of the homes to the street. The FPL engineer picked the places where there should be lights and sent the homeowners the forms. It was the association’s job to follow up and convince people to sign, notarize, and return the forms. Since some people didn’t sign, the placement of streetlights is random. We have been urging the Traffic Engineering Department to set up additional lights throughout the area.
The association had to approach the county for help again when the owners of the water plant died and their heirs took over. The new owners were impossible and incompetent and the pipes were too old and too small. About once a month another water pipe broke and the area was without water for hours or even days. The association went to Commissioner, John Rodstrom, who persuaded the county to buy the water plant and replace the whole delivery system. All new larger pipes were installed and more hydrants were added. When the state announced that septic tanks had to be replaced with sewers, the county organized a Neighborhood Improvement Project, providing sewers, sidewalks, and landscaping.
Another problem arose when the association found that this area was overrun with sex offenders. The state had a law that a sex offender could not live within 1000 feet of a school or park where children gathered. The surrounding cities expanded the distance to 2500 feet leaving no place for the offenders to live in those cities. As a result probation officers sent the offenders to the southeast corner of Broadview Park which was just a little more than 1000 feet from the schools and the park. Again the association went to Commissioner John Rodstrom. He persuaded the county to temporarily extend the distance in Broadview to 2500 feet and to set up a committee to study the problem. A member of the civic association served on that committee along with about 15 people from law enforcement, city governments, social services, etc. When the committee reported their findings to the county, the commissioners made the 2500 foot distance permanent in Broadview Park. This prevented any more offenders from moving in, although those who were already in the community could stay. If they move out, they can’t move back again. As a result, the number of sex offenders has gradually dropped from 106 to 38.
Whenever there is a need or a problem, the association works to address it. They joined the fight to keep the Florida Gas Transmission Company from moving a 30 inch pipeline into the middle of the community, but were overruled by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Because the county received $170,000 from the gasline company for the right-of-way along the powerline easement, that money was reserved for the Broadview Park community. It will be used for a pocket park on the site of the old water plant
In 2013 the county accepted the fact that none of the surrounding cities was willing to annex the area and developed a plan to sustain Broadview Park as an unincorporated area. Due to problems with Station 23 on 46th Avenue, our fire/rescue personnel are stationed too far away in Dania Beach. The county has set aside funds to improve the building so that our emergency personnel can be moved back to Station 23.
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