Park Could Trump The Commons


A new park named for former Florida Gov. LeRoy Collins could be another road block to constructing The Commons, a sprawling office and shopping complex.
The Commons is slated to be at Interstate 75 at Royal Palm Boulevard, within shouting distance of the new park at the interstate near South Post Road.
The Commons is bitterly opposed by nearby residents like Property Appraiser Lori Parrish and the City of Weston.  The residents and Weston fear the project will ruin the neighborhood by generating too much noise and traffic.

No doubt lawyers opposed to the project will now raise the question of why Davie city officials believe a park is proper for one location along I-75, while The Commons is okay for another, very similar location almost next door. 
   It probably will be decided in court.
  The new park is named for former Gov. Collins, which is a refreshing change from the habit of naming public spaces after living politicians and developers.
  We’ve got the Ilene Lieberman Botanical Gardens, a name bestowed Lauderhill this year for the county commissioner.  J. P. Taravella High School is named after the late developer of Coral Springs, while Sue Gunzburger/Washington Park Child Care Center is named for the living county commissioner.
  I don’t know exactly what these folks did to deserve this honor, except do their jobs. That’s why it is encouraging to see a new Broward park named after a real Florida hero — Collins.
  Collins was governor during the 1950s and was a rare voice for racial moderation in the South.  He also fought the abuses of the rural North Florida lawmakers, who controlled the Legislature at the time.
  We can thank former State Rep. Tim Ryan for the newly named  park. Ryan and his family sold of 53.89 acres for a park along Interstate 75 and South Post Road in Davie last year.  
The Ryan family received $6.1 million.

Ryan could have insisted the new park be named for the Ryan family. That wouldn’t hurt Tim, especially since he is locked is locked in a tough campaign for state Senate district 31 to replace Steve Geller.   The other Democrats vying for the seat are no pushovers Eleanor Sobel, former state House member and current School Board member, and Ken Gottlieb, another former state House member.
  He conditioned the sale, however, on naming the park after Collins. 
  The Collins park is something Ryan’s father, A. J. “Red Ryan, always wanted.  The elder Ryan was elected to the Florida House in 1956, the same year that Collins won his first full term as governor.  
“He always admired LeRoy Collins, Tim Ryan says. “We could have developed that land, but my father always wanted it to be a park named for the governor.


A. J. Ryan and Lawton Chiles

The Davie Town Council formally adopted the Collins name in July, 2008.  They may end up seeing the Collins name more than they wish in lawsuits filed against them seeking to block The Commons.


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