Broadwalk: Hollywood, Florida
Hollywood founder Joseph Young's idea in 1920 for a new resort community was simple: plan and build what would be the Atlantic City of south Florida. Drawing on the "City Beautiful Movement" for inspiration, he bought his first parcel of land in 1921. By 1923, he had completed what would become the town's signature promenade, the 30-foot-wide by one-and-a-half-mile-long pink cement walkway named Broadwalk.
Two and a half miles along the Atlantic Ocean between Jefferson Street to the south and Sherman Street to the north.
Development of Hollywood continued at a rapid pace until September 18, 1926, when the "Great Hurricane" hit the area and left hundreds dead. The resort community would rebuild, but not before Young's "Dream City" went through bankruptcy, and many of the city's initial investors and speculators sold at a loss.
Despite the city's early tragedy, the Broadwalk and adjoining architecture — mostly low- and mid-rise hotels and apartments built during the late 1920s and 1930s in the Streamline/Art Moderne, Mediterranean Revival, and Mid-Century Modern architectural styles — are still there. Together with palm trees and the white sand beach, they give Hollywood the look and feel of old Florida.
To capitalize on the city's historic character and unique walkway, Hollywood established the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) in 1997 with the goal of making the city's ocean frontage a dynamic place to invest, work, live, and play. An extensive planning process was undertaken to obtain community input and develop a comprehensive plan for the beach, the Broadwalk, and the 42 adjoining street block ends that terminate at the cement walkway. CRA issued $20 million in revenue bonds in 2004 to implement the plan.
Among the improvements two new features are catching the attention of other coastal municipalities. New woven mats (called "Mobi-mats") that extend onto the sand from the promenade have been installed to provide handicap accessibility to the beach. Also, period-appropriate LED lighting is creating a safer environment for nesting sea turtles that use the beach. These and other changes notwithstanding, many visitors report Hollywood and its Broadwalk still looks and feels "like you're back in the '70s."
Defining Characteristics, Features
- Originally envisioned by Joseph Young, Hollywood's founder; platted and paved (1922)
- Hollywood Beach Casino was built (1924); located on the Broadwalk; 824 dressing rooms, 80 shower baths, shopping arcade, and an Olympic-sized swimming pool
- Hurricane hit South Florida (1926); Hollywood's growth and development stopped overnight; property values plummeted; city went bankrupt
- Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Beach Master Plan adopted, historic district created (2007); provides setbacks, height restrictions, design review to keep existing character
- A large part of the $6.6 million the city takes in each year from tourists is collected at the businesses along the Broadwalk
- Redevelopment agency's Broadwalk promenade revitalization project completed (2007)
- Improvements include new public restrooms, palm trees, addition of ADA-accessible shower
- Broadwalk becomes part of Florida East Coast Greenway (2011), which is part of the national East Coast Greenway, an urban trail network that extends from Key West to Maine
- Margaritaville Resort in Broadwalk's central district; $147 million public-private partnership between the city, redevelopment agency, and developer
- Margaritaville Resort completion expected 2015; will complement other major resorts — Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa, Marriott Hollywood Beach, and Hollywood Crowne Plaza Hotel
- Promenade 27 feet wide and one mile from downtown; spans 2.5 miles along Atlantic Ocean
- Hollywood's oceanfront is a Blue Wave Certified Clean Beach
- New design includes designated "lanes" for walking, jogging, and biking; organizes space (2007)
- Unified palette of like materials; terra cotta pavers, coquina stone retaining wall, historic street lighting, and aluminum "corrals" contain drinking fountains, trashcans, newspaper boxes
- Coquina stone low wall; keeps promenade free from sand erosion; provides separation from beach and bench-like seating; incorporates beach showers, foot washes, directional signage
- Planter boxes at street ends; contain native, salt-tolerant plants that survive typical weather
- New LED light fixtures comply with local ordinance; feature 270-degree shields which decrease light pollution towards the water; create safer environment for nesting sea turtles
Beach Restoration, Storm and Climate Protection
- From 1876 through 2005, 18 hurricanes have passed within 60 miles of the city; significant beach erosion occurred with landfall of Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma (2005)
- Hollywood beach eroded along shoreline at a rate of four feet per year from 1989 to 1998
- Entire 6.85 miles of city's coastline recognized by state as critically eroded
- Since early 1960s Broward County has helped Hollywood with shore protection, beach restoration, and beach sand management; constructed with federal cost-sharing
- Renourished beaches provide enhanced protection for existing infrastructure valued at nearly $1 billion plus billions of dollars in property and thousands of lives
- Broward County adds "Climate Change Element" to comprehensive plan (2013); first local government in state to comply with "Adaptation Action Areas" policies
- Predict one-foot sea level rise for Hollywood next 100 years; 0.7 foot rise during past 70 years
Adjacent Amenities, Activities, Programs
- Ninety-eight small hotels on Broadwalk, also three oceanfront parks, restaurants, shops
- The 1.85-acre Charnow Park at Connecticut Street-end; redeveloped by city, CRA (2008); includes parking garage, meeting facilities, historic racquetball courts, play equipment
- Broadwalk connected by county bus, trolley, bike share, bike rentals
- Hosts annual festivals, parades, other events year-round; farmer's market and juice bar on Sundays with all-organic produce, juices
- Historic band shell across from Johnson Street end has live music, outdoor concerts
- CRA-initiated "City Pass" cooperative program with cruise companies in Port Everglades brings an average of 6,800 visitors annually on day trips to Hollywood Beach
- New "Broadwalk Ambassador" program supported by Greater Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Hollywood Beach Civic Association, CRA, city; volunteers to provide tourist info