Fort Lauderdale Named All-America City

Source: The below is an abbreviated version of the media release distributed by the City of Fort Lauderdale on June 16, 2014 

Fort Lauderdale Named All-American City 
The City of Fort Lauderdale has captured the prestigious All-America City Award! The official announcement honoring Fort Lauderdale with the 2014 national title was made last night by the National Civic League at its annual conference in Denver, Colorado. Established in 1949, the All-America City Award recognizes cities, counties, towns, neighborhoods, and metropolitan areas across the country for exemplary community-based problem solving and civic engagement efforts that involve public, private, and non-profit entities.

 “We are honored to be one of only 10 communities nationwide selected as an All-America City,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor John P. “Jack” Seiler.  “Our Citywide Vision and Strategic Plan reflect our commitment to working in partnership with our neighbors to address challenges and develop transformative solutions to move our City forward.  Through bold ideas, innovative partnerships, and passionate civic engagement, we are building community, enhancing quality of life, and making Fort Lauderdale an outstanding place to live, work, play, visit, and raise a family.  I would like to congratulate our staff, our neighbors, and all of our community builders on this tremendous accomplishment!”

Additional Communities Recognized as All-American Cities
Joining Fort Lauderdale as a 2014 All-America City are nine other communities from across the United States:Montgomery, Alabama; San Pablo, California; Brush, Colorado; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Chelsea, Massachusetts; Independence, Oregon; Brownsville, Texas; Hampton, Virginia; and Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

The Selection Process
For two days, groups of civic leaders and community activists from 25 cities met in Denver to present their stories of positive change to a jury of civic experts and to network and exchange ideas and insights.

The National Civic League commended Fort Lauderdale for numerous projects that demonstrate outstanding civic engagement, cross sector collaboration, inclusiveness, and innovation. An array of Parks and Recreation programs that promote healthy active lifestyles were recognized including: Wise Kids, the Presidential Challenge, First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign, the Fit Kidz Club, and the City’s after-school programs and youth camps. 

 Three major initiatives in Fort Lauderdale that were highlighted as examples of positive meaningful change:

  • The Dillard Innovation Zone Promise Neighborhood, an initiative of the Broward Regional Health Planning Council (BRHPC), that is cultivating community and business collaborations to support school improvement, health service interventions, mentoring, enhanced classroom technology, reading and literacy initiatives at Dillard Elementary School and initiating innovative solutions to reinvigorate a neighborhood in need.
      
  • The redevelopment of Flagler Village, a downtown neighborhood that has been transformed from a desolate and abandoned warehouse district into a vibrant center for arts and culture. The revitalized area features unique businesses including a master puppeteer, media and photography company, event planning and marketing business, advertising agency, theatre troupe, and an innovative landscape architecture firm. Flagler Village’s popular monthly Art Walks are a celebration of the neighborhood’s innovation, vision and urban lifestyle, as well as a strong sign of the area’s rebirth.
      
  • Northwest Gardens, a neighborhood development located in the City’s Northwest Community Redevelopment Area, is a model affordable housing project that showcases social, environmental, health, engagement, and economic sustainability. Spearheaded by the City of Fort Lauderdale Housing Authority in partnership with community members, private sector developers, and non-profit organizations, Northwest Gardens was the first LEED-ND Certified Neighborhood in Florida. The project promotes healthy living by providing residents with places to walk and bike safely, community gardens and fruit trees, energy efficient housing, solar streetlights, self-sufficiency training, job training, and cultural activities.

Fort Lauderdale was also lauded for its Complete Streets policy, which was recently ranked #1 in Florida and #3 in the nation; a wheelchair tennis program at George English Park; a walking club at Carter Park; and the hundreds of sports, programs, and community activities that have taken place during the past year at the new Orange Bowl Field at Carter Park.

Additional Honors and Awards for the City of Fort Lauderdale include: 

“Top 10 Best Downtowns in 2014” – Livability.com

“Top 10 Most Exciting Cities in America” – Movoto National Real Estate

“Top 10 Greenest Mid-Sized Cities” – MyLife.com

“Top 10 Best U.S. Cities for Small Businesses” – Biz2Credit.com

“Top 10 Best Places to Move in 2014” – SML National Moving

“Top 10 Small American Cities of the Future” – Foreign Direct Investment Magazine

“Top 10 Best Cities for Parking” – NerdWallet.com

“Top 10 Best Places for Veterans to Live” – Best Places for Veterans Report

“Top 10 Great Cities for Family Vacations” – Vacation Critic Travel Planning Guide

“Top 10 Best Places to Retire” – Money Magazine

“Favorite Winter Destination of Canadians” – FlightNetwork.com

“Most Outstanding Green Government” – U.S. Green Building Council South Florida

“Happiest Cities for Young Professionals” – Forbes Magazine

“Best Places for Business and Careers” – Forbes Magazine

“Top 100 Best Cities to Start a Business” – WalletHub

“Certified as a Florida Green Local Government” – Florida Green Building Coalition

“Complete Streets Policy Ranked #1 in Florida and #3 Nationally” – Smart Growth America

“Top 10 Most Affordable Summer Destinations” – GoBankingRates.com

“One of seven areas nationwide cited as an American Dream region” – Xavier University and The Burghard Group

Sun Trolley Wins 2014 Small Business Nonprofit of the Year Award from the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce

Sun Trolley

(L to R): Dan Lindblade, Laurie Menekou, Courtney Crush, Chuck Black

The Sun Trolley has once again earned top community recognition for fostering mobility and growth in greater Fort Lauderdale. On Friday, May 2, 2014, the Sun Trolley, administered by the Downtown Transportation Management Association (TMA), was named the “2014 Small Business Nonprofit of the Year” by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce.

“On behalf of TMA staff, our Board of Directors, community partners and stakeholders, we are incredibly thankful for this award,” said Patricia Zeiler, Executive Director of the Sun Trolley. “This prestigious award recognizes the leadership, integrity and management skills necessary to operate a successful business – our success is completely a bi-product of our pro-active Board of Directors, our dedicated staff and unwavering support from our community partners.”

Both Gilda’s Club South Florida and Rebuilding Together Broward County were named as finalists in the Chamber’s small business nonprofit awards category.

The Sun Trolley, a nonprofit 501(C)3, transports approximately 40,000 passengers per month across its seven routes: the NW Community Link Route alone, provides free transportation for approximately 10,000 people a month who need basic services.

In addition to this award, Patricia Zeiler, was also named the 2014 Nonprofit Leader of the Year at the Annual 211 Broward Academy Awards in March 2014.

To download the Tracker app, printable route maps or to learn more visit http://www.suntrolley.com or call (954) 761-3543. Like what Sun Trolley is doing? Show it at facebook.com/sun-trolley.

Fort Lauderdale Named Finalist for All-America City Award

For the second consecutive year, Fort Lauderdale has been named a finalist for the national All-America City Award. Sponsored by the National Civic League, the All-America City Award recognizes cities, counties, towns, neighborhoods, and metropolitan areas across the country for exemplary community-based problem solving and civic engagement efforts that involve public, private and non-profit entities.

“We are honored to be one of only 25 cities nationwide selected as a finalist for this prestigious designation,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor John P. “Jack” Seiler. “Our Citywide Vision and Strategic Plan reflect our commitment to working in partnership with our neighbors to address challenges and develop transformative solutions to move our City forward. Through bold ideas, innovative partnerships, and passionate civic engagement, we are building community, enhancing quality of life, and creating a vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable City.”

The National Civic League commended Fort Lauderdale for numerous projects that demonstrate outstanding civic engagement, cross sector collaboration, inclusiveness, and innovation. An array of Parks and Recreation programs that promote healthy active lifestyles were recognized including: Wise Kids, the Presidential Challenge, First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign, the Fit Kidz Club, and the City’s after-school programs and youth camps.

Three major initiatives taking place in the community were highlighted as examples of positive meaningful change:

  • The Dillard Innovation Zone Promise Neighborhood, a project of the Broward Regional Health Planning Council (BRHPC), that is cultivating community and business collaborations to support school improvement, health service interventions, mentoring, enhanced classroom technology, reading and literacy at Dillard Elementary School and initiating innovative solutions to reinvigorate a neighborhood in need.
      
  • The redevelopment of Flagler Village, a downtown neighborhood that has been transformed from a desolate and abandoned warehouse district into a vibrant center for arts and culture. The revitalized area features unique businesses including a master puppeteer, media and photography company, event planning and marketing business, advertising agency, theatre troupe, and an innovative landscape architecture firm. Flagler Village’s popular monthly Art Walks are a celebration of the neighborhood’s innovation, vision, and urban lifestyle, as well as a strong sign of the area’s rebirth.
      
  • Northwest Gardens, a neighborhood development located in the City’s Northwest Community Redevelopment Area, is a model affordable housing project that showcases social, environmental, health, engagement, and economic sustainability. Spearheaded by the City of Fort Lauderdale Housing Authority in partnership with community members, private sector developers, and non-profit organizations, Northwest Gardens was the first LEED-ND Certified Neighborhood in Florida. The project promotes healthy living by providing residents with places to walk and bike safely, community gardens and fruit trees, energy efficient housing, solar streetlights, self-sufficiency training, job training, and cultural activities.

Fort Lauderdale was also lauded for its Complete Streets policy, which was recently ranked #1 in Florida and #3 in the nation; a wheelchair tennis program at George English Park; a walking club at Carter Park; and the hundreds of sports, programs, and community activities that have taken place during the past year at the new Orange Bowl Field at Carter Park.

“All-America city finalists are at the forefront of a nationwide movement to find inventive, community-based solutions to the issues that face our cities. From preparing our kids to compete and succeed in the 21st century to promoting livable neighborhood revitalization, new ideas often start in one community and later become best practices for others,” said National Civic League Board Chair Mayor Michael B. Hancock of Denver. 

Joining Fort Lauderdale as finalists are 24 other communities from across the United States including:  Montgomery, Alabama; San Pablo, California; Whittier, California; Brush, Colorado; Tarpon Springs, Florida; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Marshalltown, Iowa; Columbus, Indiana; Chelsea, Massachusetts; Dedham, Massachusetts; Fitchburg, Massachusetts; Somerville, Massachusetts; Marquette, Michigan; Kenmore, New York; Canton, New York; Independence, Oregon; Providence, Rhode Island; Knoxville, Tennessee; Brownsville, Texas; Marshall, Texas; Hampton, Virginia; Portsmouth, Virginia; Yakima, Washington; and Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Once described by pollster George Gallup as the “Nobel Prize” for civic accomplishment, the All-America City Award has been given to more than 600 communities since its inception in 1949.  Communities vying for the designation submit applications to the National Civic League listing three examples of successful community change and describing their capacities for civic engagement, collaboration, inclusiveness and innovation. Finalists present to a jury of civic experts who select the annual award winners.

Last year, the City of Fort Lauderdale captured the National Civic League’s All-America City Diversity and Inclusiveness Award for extraordinary and innovative success in advancing diversity and inclusiveness.

The 2014 All-America Cities will be announced on June 15 as part of the National Civic League’s annual conference in Denver, Colorado.

NCL is a 120-year old nonpartisan, nonprofit organization based in Denver, Colorado. Its mission is accomplished by fostering and sharing promising practices of local government and public engagement and celebrating the progress that can be achieved when people work together.  For more information, contact Mike McGrath at the National Civic League at 303 571-4343;mikem@ncl.org, or visit the All-America City Blog at www.allamericacityaward.com or the NCL web site at www.ncl.org

Patricia Zeiler’s Passion for the Sun Trolley Earns Her an Award Nomination and Recognition from the U.S. Department of Transportation

When commuters look at the Sun Trolley, they see safe, alternative transportation to single occupant vehicles. When Patricia Zeiler looks at it, she sees something that “makes a good city great.”

“Transportation excites me because it brings people together from many, many different communities. They meet in transit. They exchange ideas. It’s the happening place,” said Zeiler, Executive Director of the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association, the non-profit organization that manages the Sun Trolley.

Zeiler’s passion for the Sun Trolley has made her as a finalist for Nonprofit Leader of the Year in 211 Broward’s Annual Non-Profit Academy Awards.

“On our NW Community Link Route alone, we provide free transportation for approximately 10,000 people a month who need basic services. That’s our mission – to provide accessible and reliable transportation to support the community,” said Zeiler.

On Friday, February 28 at 11 a.m. the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood will host Zeiler and her fellow Academy Award nominees as they strut down the red carpet amid search lights and golden statuettes, before finding out who will take home the top honor.

Sun Trolley

Zeiler is also one of many women leaders in transportation being celebrated by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in a new video series on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s YouTube channel.

Click Here to view Patricia’s Video

“By showcasing the exciting career opportunities available, and the tremendous possibilities for success, we hope more women and girls will consider choosing careers in transportation,” wrote LaHood on his blog, Fast Lane.

To learn more about the Department of Transportation’s Women in Transportation Series, visit www.dot.gov/osdbu/women-and-girls.

You’re Invited to a Trolley Party

Who doesn’t LOVE a FREE Party at C&I Studios in Flagler Village that includes free drinks and delicious food from Rocco’s Tacos and Tarpon Bend? We know you do, that’s why we are inviting you to our Trolley Party to help us celebrate the expansion of Sun Trolley’s Downtown Link Route!
PS: Save the Date for the 1/31 Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Peter Feldman Park – details below!
CLICK HERE TO RSVP

Sun Trolley

If you would like to share this event on your blog so your followers can RSVP – use this RSVP link:
A very special Thank You to the following sponsors:
Rocco’s Tacos, Tarpon Bend, TBG, Popcorn Indiana, Adept
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Expansion of Sun Trolley’s Downtown Link Route Provides Connectivity to Flagler Village & Broward Health Medical Center

It’s no secret that the population in downtown Ft. Lauderdale doubles to more than 300,000 people Monday through Friday. And with the increasingly popular Flagler Village in the north quadrant of the city, more and more professionals are snatching up lofts and apartments in this burgeoning arts district.

Starting January 2, 2014 the Sun Trolley is expanding service along its Downtown Ft. Lauderdale Link Route to make it more convenient for people to live, work and play by trolley in downtown Ft. Lauderdale.

Sun Trolley Downtown Link“It’s really about serving a need and increasing connectivity,” states Patricia Zeiler, Sun Trolley’s Executive Director. “We want to give people a convenient, reliable and safe alternative to single occupant vehicles.”

Sun Trolley’s expansion of the Downtown Link Route makes it possible for a resident to leave one’s home in Flagler Village, travel to Las Olas for work or play, continue on to Broward Health Medical Center and back to Flagler Village – all without a car.

“Flagler Village has seen a huge increase in density over the past decade,” states Alan Hooper of Hooper Construction. “What was once an inactive and uninspired area of Ft. Lauderdale is now seeing revitalization – and that is leading to new business development, beautification projects and an up and coming arts district for Ft. Lauderdale.”

The expansion of the Downtown Link Route is funded through a Service Enhancement Grant program through FDOT. FDOT believes that Sun Trolley’s downtown expansion will alleviate congestion on Andrews Avenue and SE/NE Third Avenue and will encourage professionals who work in downtown to make connections via public transportation.

In addition to the expansion of Sun Trolley’s Downtown Link Route, the Sun Trolley offers six additional routes that help residents and tourists travel in and around greater Ft. Lauderdale.

“Our monthly ridership averages approximately 40,000 passengers,” states Zeiler. “That’s 40,000 individuals who utilize the trolleys to get to AIA, the Harbor Shops, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Las Olas, the Courthouse, outlying neighborhoods like Melrose Park and even Life Net for Families and the Department of Children & Families at Plantation Hospital.”

To track the trolleys (IN REAL-TIME!) along any of the seven routes simply download the award-winning Sun Trolley Tracker App. This mobile app for Android and iPhone users, provides real time location of all trolleys.

To download printable route maps, the mobile app or to learn more visit www.suntrolley.com or call (954) 761-3543. Like what Sun Trolley is doing? Show it at facebook.com/sun-trolley.

ABOUT TMA (Transportation Management Association)

Serving Fort Lauderdale’s residents and visitors since 1993, the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association (TMA) manages the Sun Trolley and administers the community bus service of the City of Fort Lauderdale. In addition to managing seven routes, TMA oversees a carpooling service with incentives for employees who elect to carpool, connects Fort Lauderdale neighborhoods to Broward County Transit and TriRail, and coordinates employee transit programs in local businesses. For more info visit www.suntrolley.com.