Best Landmark - 2003
Galt Ocean Mile
Readers' Choice: The lighthouse in Lighthouse Point
At the beginning of Galt Ocean Mile, where a condo canyon screens Fort Lauderdale Beach from public view, there is a monument, a marker really, to Arthur Galt, the man who once owned this land, the land that became the condo canyon we now call Galt Ocean Mile. That´s a circular sentence. An off-putting sentence. And that´s the way those 24 condo towers appear to the people who drive or walk past them who don´t live in them and so don´t enjoy the spectacular view. These behemoths repel. Fort Lauderdale Beach is unusual in this subtropical neck of the woods because so much of the beachside of A1A has been left open. So why honor Galt? We don´t know, but maybe it harkens back to a time when any development was good development. Maybe it was seen as Fort Lauderdale´s coming of age. Someone wants to build a wall of condos on the beach? Great! Wait a minute... That sounds an awful lot like what´s going on in Fort Lauderdale today. Galt owned the land, and he sold it to developers in the 1920s. So maybe we should rethink this as a cautionary marker. When developers breathe down your neck and flash money and throw around big ideas, take a step back, breathe deep, and think what will make Fort Lauderdale a more livable place in 20 or 40 or 80 years. Is it more condos, or more parks? Wider roads, or wider sidewalks? More Arthur Galts selling to developers? Or more Hugh Taylor Birch´s giving to the public?