L. A. Lee Family YMCA to Refurbish the Mizell Center
On Tuesday, August 22, 2017, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission voted in favor of the redevelopment of the first Black hospital, the Mizell Center, located in the historic Sistrunk neighborhood of Midtown Fort Lauderdale. The award of $10 million dollars was presented to The L.A. Lee Family YMCA, the oldest YMCA in Broward County serving the Fort Lauderdale community for over 70 years with diverse programs for all ages. The $10 million dollar grant was awarded by the City of Fort Lauderdale Northwest-Progresso-Flagler Community Redevelopment Agency (NPFCRA).
Founded in the 1930s by Fort Lauderdale’s first Black surgeon, Dr. Von D. Mizell, the Mizell Center’s revitalization aligns with the NPFCRA’s goals and vision of pursuing the redevelopment of vacant properties, strategically redeveloping large-underutilized sites, and creating and implementing area wide design guidelines.
L.A. Lee YMCA Mizell Center
The YMCA has renamed the center L.A. Lee YMCA Mizell Center in order to preserve the community and the center’s rich history. The YMCA will utilize the new development to:
- Expand current programs
- Engage the community in the development of programs and services that meet their needs
- Increase economic development in the community
The new YMCA’s design is comprised of four floors, which will include:
- Child development and youth zones
- Outdoor play zone
- Wellness and aerobic space
- Retail and community offices spaces
These facilities are projected to increase job creation in the community. The YMCA’s purpose is to provide programs and services that focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility that result in strengthening the foundations of the community.
More About Dr. Von D. Mizell:
Dr. Von D. Mizell was the founding president of the Broward NAACP. He petitioned for the creation of a beach for Black citizens in 1946, a time when Blacks were denied access to the area’s public beaches. Over the next seven years, he kept pressuring authorities until 1951 when Broward County Attorney John U. Lloyd was directed by the authorities to find a location for the colored beach.
In 1954, due to the efforts of John U. Lloyd, Broward County’s attorney for 30 years, the state approved the purchase of this property and the park was named in his honor.
On July 1, 2016, the John U. Lloyd Beach State Park in Dania Beach was renamed the Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park in honor of Dr. Mizell and Eula Johnson (who on July 4, 1961, as the then current president of the NAACP, staged the famous African-American community “wade-in,” which forced County officials to build a road to access the beach).
About the City of Fort Lauderdale Northwest-Progresso-Flagler Community Redevelopment Agency (NPFCRA)