So many of my out of area buyers don’t know much about Wilton Manors other than the bars and restaurants along Wilton Drive. But this surprising little city is so much more. Read this article from the South Florida Gay News and discover some of the many reasons it’s a great place to live and invest. If this gives you the urge to explore owning your piece or paradise, Ken Can Help!
Written by A. Sebastian Fortino, SFGN
Wilton Manors, known for eateries, bars, and shops lining Wilton Drive offers other amenities, which only small towns can offer. There is a sense of civic pride and fun in towns like this. In fact, SFGN participated in the 20th Annual Island City Canoe Race this past May although we won’t reveal at what number we placed.
“The Island City,” once again named a top mailing address for the gay community, maintains several parks and green spaces, several of which are on waterways. There are 17 parks and public facilities ranging in size from the 0.1 acre N. E. De Palma Park, located a block behind the Shoppes of Wilton Manors, to the 8.5 acre Colohatchee Park and the medians on Wilton Drive.
In fact there are so many green areas Wilton Manors is considered a Community Wildlife Habitat, certified through the National Wildlife Federation. Residents and businesses can also apply to qualify for Backyard Habitat status, in which the NWF surveys private property to see if candidates meet criteria to support local wildlife.
Parkland is managed by the City of Wilton Manors Leisure Services Department, in their mission to improve the life of residents, those who work here, and visitors.
Hagen Park, is located just behind Wilton Manors City Hall. They have a Community Center, available to rent for private events, flanked by a tennis court to improve your serve. On weekends the parking lot hosts a well-attended farmers market. The center also boasts a small, well-equipped municipal gym.
“Not many cities have gyms,” said Chris Cooper, Administrative Program Director for the Department of Leisure Services. Cooper, who is earning his masters in public administration and already has a bachelor’s degree in parks and recreation administration, is clearly well-suited to the task. Yet, sourcing funds are always an issue in his line of work.
“It’s a challenge to find revenue supporting these facilities,” he said. “We opened four years ago and were able to pay off the equipment within three years. Now it’s a new source of revenue for the city that supports the health and well-being of the community.”
The gym has 175 members, with reasonable rates for people who live or work in Wilton Manors. Mornings are busiest, but only half-a-dozen people seem to work out at the same time.
“It’s great for people who want to work out at a smaller gym,” said Cooper, of the gym. “It’s more private.”
If you haven’t heard about the fitness center that’s because Cooper and his staff work without a marketing budget.
The Island City Park Preserve, in the Highland Estates section of town, is a large green area along the water boasting a canoe and kayak launch, outdoor pavilions, playground and – when I went through the space during the summer – a day camp for local children.
“This is a transformation for that neighborhood,” said Cooper. “The Island City Park Preserve receives federal funding from the Community Development Block Grant to rehabilitate blighted areas.”
The main meeting room can hold about 100 people. As the park is not located on Wilton Drive, in a quiet residential section of the city, it is a bit more private than the Community Center at Hagen Park.
“We strive to make the parks and other amenities integral to life here in the Island City,” Cooper said proudly. “Leisure Services is, ultimately, a direct reflection of what the city can and should be.”
In addition to the parks mentioned above Colohatchee Park offers a boat ramp to launch boats into the intercoastal, a dog park, and other amenities including barbeques. Mickel Field is an athletic complex with baseball fields, dugouts, press box and has been home to Wilton Manors Little League since 1995. TheSnook Creek Boat Ramp is yet another location for waterway enthusiasts which can accommodate boats up to 17 feet long, and serves as the only access to the water on the west side of the city. Donn Eisele Park also has a floating dock, pavilion offering shade and a butterfly garden.
The Island City, it seems is also a City of Parks. Next week SFGN will tour the Wilton Manors Historical Society and the Richardson Historic Park and Nature Preserve.
Visit WiltonManors.com for more information, or be neighborly and drop into the Community Center at Hagen Park for brochures.