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Lauderdale Wants to Build Fancy New Plaza Over the Henry E. Kinney Tunnel

City officials want to extend the Henry E. Kinney Tunnel entrance on the north end of the tunnel and build a park-like plaza on top of it.

The swanky new plaza would spruce up the bleak entryway to Las Olas and help the businesses there get better exposure.

All fancy like.

According to the Sun Sentinel, officials are looking into moving the tunnel's Federal Highway entrance 26 feet to the north and top the extended roof with fresh new park benches, shaded areas, and a tourist kiosk.

Commissioners are saying the plaza could be built as soon as they can squeeze $840,000 in funding within the next couple of years.

The proposal could cost up to $3.8 million, according to the executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, Chris Wren.

Broward County is planning to use some reserves for a centennial celebration in 2015, which totals to about $1.1 million.

The Downtown Development Authority is hoping the county will share some of that money for a sculpture to be erected on the plaza -- one that would represent the pride of the area and could be seen from U.S. 1.

Their main motivation, however, is to make the outdated and unsafe area safer for drivers and pedestrians.

"We've all experienced trying to cross there, and it's extremely difficult. The cars aren't sure who's there and the people aren't sure where the cars are," said Chris Wren, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority.

The development agency pegged for the project is hoping to build an area with lots of open spaces, with sculptures. Their vision is to have the new plaza extend toward the larger northside plaza next to the Cheesecake Factory on Las Olas.

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