State Deals Setback To Destruction of Kennedy Homes by Branding Project Historic


A state review board has approved listing the Kennedy Homes on West Broward Boulevard as historic, dealing a setback to city insiders who want to tear them down and build a new development.

The complex for the poor is historic, having been built in 1941.  The applications for historic status claimed it is one of the last surviving public housing projects built before construction material became scarce during World War II.

The city built the Kennedy Homes for poor whites.  The project was integrated in the mid-1960s.

Approval by the state is just the latest step in the effort to preserve the homes.  The project must still be accepted by the National Register of Historic Places.

There also is a law suit winding its way through the courts, seeking to block destruction of the homes.

Here is the blast e-mail from supporters of preserving the homes:

From: A Plummer
Date: Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 4:15 PM
Subject: BULLETIN – Historic Dr. Kennedy Homes

Earlier today the Dr. Kennedy Homes was approved by the state review board for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

The vote was unanimous.
Thanks to all below who were involved in this effort:
Diane Smart and the Broward Trust for Historic Preservation
Merrilyn Rathbun, Fort Lauderdale Historical Society
Pat Morillo, Fort Lauderdale Historic Preservation Planner
Dave Baber, Broward County Historic Preservation Coordinator
Susan McClellan, Chair, Fort Lauderdale Historic Preservation Board
Dave Parker, Past President, Sailboat Bend Civic Association
Nolan Haan, Past Chair, Fort Lauderdale Historic Preservation Board
Charles Jordan, President, Trust for Historic Sailboat Bend
Paul Boggess, Past President, Trust for Historic Sailboat Bend
Donna Isaacs, Board Member, Trust for Historic Sailboat Bend
In this Centennial year for our city the Dr. Kennedy Homes represents 70 years of our history.
This is a proud moment for all of us.
Alysa Plummer
Sailboat Bend Civic Association

5 Responses to “State Deals Setback To Destruction of Kennedy Homes by Branding Project Historic”

  1. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Have you seen this group in action from Sailboat Bend???. Ms.Plummer,to Dave parker, to Charlie Jordan. Oh, you have to see them in action. I’m sure this is a feather in their hat. One observation w/ all the deep,deep pockets they have (nice Jaguar Mr.Parker) and you Mr.Jordan w/ your (get This) his Historic preservation business(I guess fixing old homes (what I;’ve heard). So everyone is just doing all this out of Historic Preservation huh?? To all of them then if the Kennedy Homes is so great, by all means YOU LIVE THere-Not a one-trust me. Then they are in the process of sueing the City(just waiting to pop the cork on the champaigne waiting for Judge Englander-Henning is it to make her desicion. This is all costing the City a fortune. And yes Mr.Jordan Mayor Seiler should not have endorsed the Project before it went to the Comm(i get it). For your group to be costing the City Law Dept. so much expense is counter-productive to what you want to accomplish. I know who cares what it cost the City as long as your victorious. What I don’t understand is this Charles Jordan you should see the spread he lives in-doesn’t look Historic to me(right in Historic Sailboat bend). This will all come up during the campaign please do attend.

  2. Politico says:

    What a shame that these Sailboat Bend NIMBY’s are not forward thinking and working towards making the entryway into both the City of Fort Lauderdale and Broward County not look like a blighted area.

    What’s wrong with a Dixie Court type community replacing Kennedy Homes. Dixie Court’s architectural details and setbacks make it a very attractive community.

    If this group of non-progessive NIMBY’s get their way, who is going to pay for the costs for asbestos and lead removal and abatement from these pre-WWII buildings?

    Looks like self-serving fat cats getting their way, instead of making a positive change that is a betterment for the whole county at large.

    Shame on you NIBMY’s. You would never live there. Why don’t you want the low-income folks in Fort Lauderdale to have decent housing instead of rundown “projects” that the rest of the country got rid of 30 years ago?

  3. Floridan says:

    The fact is, a property placed on the National Register of Historic Places is not protected from demolition.

    What I find more objectionable than tearing down objectively historic structures is people who tout themselves as preservationists becoming “consultants” for the people who want to tear the buildings down and claiming they have no historic value.

  4. Richarde Locke says:

    NIMBY: Whether new or old, Kennedy Homes will still have 133 units of low-income housing, with tenants of similar demographics. Sailboat Bend has far more social service agencies than any other Broward community. We accept and work with them to meet our and their needs.

    QUALITY: The Kennedy Homes are similar in all respects to most homes in Sailboat Bend — 1-2 stories, 500-1000sq.ft, large green space compared to footprint of structures, over 50 years old. Even wealthy riverfront homes are generally small. If rented on the open market, most current Kennedy units would bring in $1,000+ per month, with minimal renovation required.

    ASPERSIONS: Mr. Parker, Mr. Jordan, and Ms. Plummer live in homes of similar age, height, mass and floor & green space to Kennedy Homes. They and our civic association (of which Kennedy and all residents are an integral part) have nothing to gain from their opposition to Kennedy’s demolition, other than satisfaction in helping to preserve the Sailboat Bend Historic District for the people of Fort Lauderdale & Broward County. The Housing Authority (HA) agreed to historic preservation of Kennedy Homes in 1990, but now wish to back out of their commitment. Even the HA’s historic consultant agreed as to the charm and historic worth of Kennedy. Her argument was that Kennedy did not “fit” or “belong” in Sailboat Bend because of a dissimilar but nevertheless historic worth.

    FAT CATS: According to the last 3 US Census reports, Sailboat Bend is a “low-income” neighborhood. That our residents choose to support a more generic Kennedy does not make them wealthy. It is the Developers, not us, who have deep pockets to hire lawyers, architects, engineers & “historic” consultants to oppose preservation.

    NEW DIXIE COURTS: If the proposed Kennedy Homes were only 2 stories high, and in a “Spanish” style, rather than a 5-story barren tower, they would be much more acceptable. But that “look” is similar to Kennedy now. So why change?

    HAZARDOUS WASTE: Demolishing 42 structures allows tons of whatever materials to be dumped in our public waste sites without mitigation. There is, however, no evidence of asbestos or lead paint in these buildings. If so, renovation would require environmentally safer disposal of a much smaller volume of waste than demolition.

    HYPOCRICY: It is at the least dissembling for the HA to give HUD Section 8 vouchers to Kennedy tenants, and close 132 viable units, when we have thousands of homeless in Broward County who would happily live in Kennedy, or accept the otherwise unavailable housing vouchers. Indeed, upon the voluntary eviction of most residents, Kennedy was taken over by the homeless, requiring the new chain-link fence and posting of guards by the HA.

    Throwing stones at the messenger does not obviate the message. A renovated rather than demolished Kennedy would be historically socially, environmentally and economically preferable. If not, the “poor” will gain marginally larger apartments and be welcomed by Sailboat Bend. Wealthy developers will pocket the profits.
    Richard E. Locke

  5. Alysa Plummer says:

    Usually I choose not to respond to rancorous comments in the media; clearly the intention is not to stimulate civil discussion. Ideally, history is only about one thing: the truth, so I would like to pass along this information:

    A National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) listing recognizes the indisputable importance of an historic resource beyond local, county or state designation. It must meet specific criteria as defined by the U.S. Secretary of Interior. The historic resource is recognized for its significance by the Federal Government because it is unique in some aspect – architectural, social, cultural, etc. — and represents a ‘snap shot in time’ of our nation’s history. This decision, to list the Dr. Kennedy Homes on the NRHP, was made regardless of the disposition of the existing buildings.

    Our City Commissioners voted unanimously to support this listing. Despite any controversy or opinion, they did what was right. They recognized the importance of the Dr. Kennedy Homes as part of our city’s history — part of our nation’s history. The Fort Lauderdale Historic Preservation Board also unanimously supported the listing. These board members volunteer their time because they care deeply about our city and protecting its historic resources.

    My wish is that we all can appreciate what our city officials and board members have done with their votes. And, take just a moment to acknowledge 70 years of Fort Lauderdale’s history along Broward Boulevard and in Sailboat Bend.

    Alysa Plummer, President
    Sailboat Bend Civic Association