Now we have another and I can’t imagine a better name – Stranahan Landing.
Here’s the info from the Sun Sentinel:
That patch of land sitting atop the Henry Kinney Tunnel has a new-minted look, befitting the big-picture view it offers of downtown Fort Lauderdale across the New River. The new park is right over the spot where Federal Highway goes under the river. Now the grounds are landscaped and freshly painted, with benches, a bike rack and green-shaded lights atop 8-foot lamp posts.
For a time it was called Tunnel Top Park, but that was only a designation. The real name, thanks to the City Commission’s recent decision, is Stranahan Landing.
It’s just above that spot on the river where city founder Frank Stranahan docked the ferry boat he used to bring northbound travelers across the water, said Dr. Warren Sturman, president of the Rio Vista Civic Association. The neighborhood group was one of the keys to the completion of the little area, and it was their request the commission was honoring in giving it its name.
“About a year and a half ago, the city asked us to submit names we might like,” Sturman said. “Centennial Park was thrown around, because it’s the centennial. Someone suggested Seminole Riverwalk Plaza. But finally we settled on Stranahan Landing. We signed a petition. The Downtown Development Authority approved it.” So did the Parks, Recreation and Beaches Advisory Board, which sent it forward on Nov. 3 for commission approval.
These moves – and the dedication party the association plans for the last part of February – are the finale to 10 frustrating years for the city and the neighborhood. The Downtown Development Authority put up a half-million dollars to improve the area. Sturman’s group earned funds from the Neighborhood Improvement Group. Plans were made, a contractor was in place. Then, nothing.
“It’s atrocious, it’s a disaster,” said Rio Vista resident Clay Wieland. For the longest time, the site looked like an abandoned lot. That’s over, and Sturman would rather talk about the present and future.
“Landscaping is done,” he said. “Irrigation [and] lighting. We’re in general very happy. Now there are two things to do, after the name is in place. We know that Mr. Stranahan set up a large, loud bell at the landing; travelers heading north could alert him that he should arrange for a ferry crossing.
“We want to bring the bell – or a replica – back home. His trading post goes back to the early 1900s, but the bell dates from 1893. It’s in the Stranahan House now.
“And we want to bring back the pedestrian ferry, right at this site. We’ve started working on it, to use for events like art festivals and Christmas on Las Olas. People could park at the Government Center when the courthouse isn’t being used.”
They could make a grand entrance into the plaza on the north bank, Sturman said, “just like they did a hundred years ago. They could get a buzz going before they hit the event.”