“We have already turned the 17th Causeway into one of the county’s largest parking lots. The traffic is strangling us,” said Sol Lesser a resident at the waterfront Port of Americas condominium.
It could have been said today, but Lesser was talking to the Sun-Sentinel in 1987 — 30 years ago!
Lesser was quoted about the Broward County Commission decision to build a convention center wedged between the northern edge of Port Everglades and the already-overcrowded causeway.
It was a decision fueled by political expediency at the expense of good planning.
Almost nothing is more illustrative of how dysfunctional the Broward County Commission has been over the last four decades than the struggle over the convention center complex. Since about 1980, Broward County’s government realized the tourism industry needed a convention center coupled with a hotel. Roughly a half dozen different locations were proposed in the 1980s and agreements collapsed because of political wrangling.
In 1987, commissioners finally got it together and made a decision. The wrong one.
Former tourism and convention center director Nicki Grossman was on the County Commission in the 1980s. She initially favored a site near the current Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
“It had plenty of room to grow,” Grossman recalls.