Thursday, August 26, 2010



In a special meeting last Wednesday night, Wilton Manors City Commission unanimously approved a motion to move forward with a preliminary $10 Million Dollar Federal Grant Application known as TIGER II. The Grant, which is part of a Federal Stimulus Grant program, will award a total of $600 Million dollars The minimum grant award will be $10 Million dollars per applicant and higher awards can be requested under the terms of the application. Wilton Manors hopes to be one of those chosen few.

This grant could be the source of funding needed for the Wilton Drive Safety, Parking and Beautification project presented by Wilton Manors Main Street, in addition to other projects that will help create a more sustainable Wilton Manors. 

The Tiger II Grant requires a dedicated match of $2.5 Million dollars in order to qualify for the Grant and with economic budget restraints; the City of Wilton Manors needs a pinch hitter. That may be possible with the help of private developer Gables Residential Real Estate, who has already provided the city with a successful residential complex that is so popular, it now boasts a three-month waiting list of potential tenants.

Tom Tabor and Doug Blevins as private sector development consultants and Main Street Volunteers were approached by Gables Residential to explore the possibility of a public-private partnership to provide for a parking garage, residential and retail development on the old city hall site. Gables had previously submitted a plan for a similar project on the site about two years ago, but the plan was rejected by the Commission and deemed incompatible with the needs of the community.

Simultaneously, the Tiger II Grant was announced and was identified as a possible funding source for the improvements on Wilton Drive. The plan will include a comprehensive master plan to address the needs of transit, economic, safety, housing and environmental components for Wilton Drive and the surrounding Arts and Entertainment Corridor.

With the requirement of the $2.5 million match for the Tiger II Grant, Tom Tabor was able to structure a preliminary proposal for the city and Gables that would insure a pledge for the $2.5 Million needed to move forward with the preliminary Grant submission.

A collaboration of Gables, Pasquale and Kuritzky Architects, Five Points Development Services including Architect James Hollingsworth, helped develop a community-friendly design alternative to the previously submitted plan. With special consideration of the Main Street Design Guidelines and references to the historical context of the city, the combined team developed a new proposal that was presented at the meeting. The response to the new design plan was overwhelmingly positive from the commission and the public attendees.

The Tiger II Grant would also allow options for at least one or two more parking structures and would address the future needs of a possible passenger railway station in Wilton Manors and enhancements along the Dixie Highway corridor.

The revised Gables design includes a new Island City Plaza which would replace the old city hall site at the corner of Wilton Drive and NE 21stCourt. The new design includes a public gathering and event area, parking garage and the addition of 120 new residential units adjacent to the new city hall. In addition, Gables pledged the matching funds of $2.5 Million dollars for the Tiger II Grant, if the project is approved. The city attorney will be drafting a letter of intent from the city to Gables regarding the agreement.

Once an agreement is reached between the city and Gables, the real work begins. The grant process will require a capital expenditure outlay of an estimated $75,000 and those funds must be secured in the next ten days in order to hire and contract the required experts needed complete the Grant. Wilton Manors Main Street will be working diligently to raise the funds needed to make this grant a reality. We will need the support of major donors to help facilitate the TIGER II. The final grant deadline is August 23, 2010. This is truly a “call to action” and we need your support. Experienced grant writers and those interested in helping may contact Tom Tabor at or call 954-681-4710.

Wilton Manors is even more poised to be the shining star of South Florida. While the battle may be an uphill climb, with the support of the city, county, state and our friends in Washington, we may go from the little train that could, to the big train that did!

Wilton Manors Main Street, Inc.