Hugh Taylor Birch State Park -- the loveliest spot in Fort Lauderdale by a good margin, home to lush native foliage, fully articulated mangrove ecosystems, and one stately nonnative tree too impressive to remove (a century-old lofty fir with a hundred-yard circumference) -- may be about to get a $1 million makeover. All that might stand in its way are competing calls for beautification from, say, medians on Las Olas Boulevard. (Isn't Las Olas pretty much beyond cosmetic fixes?)
According to an article in today's Sun Sentinel, the Birch Park overhaul will bring to life a vision articulated by the Department of Environmental Regulation, which, among other changes, will turn the abandoned railway bridge over the Long River into part of a two-mile walk- and bikeway, which will help keep nondriving parkers out of the way of cars on the paved loop that is currently the primary means of navigating the park.
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Let's hope this comes to fruition. It should have happened already. Birch Park is as hazardous as it is pretty -- it's where I learned to drive in the 1990s, and I recall nearly killing rollerbladers on several occasions. Ditto with most of my friends. But even without the presence of stupid teenagers, the coexistence of bikers, bladers, drivers, and pedestrians on the park's little road is a bit queasy-making -- you never know when one or the other is about to zig or zag unexpectedly and bloody up an otherwise perfect park day.
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