Fort Lauderdale’s once blighted community is now “Historic Sistrunk”

African-American Research Library and Cultural Center

The historic African-American community in Fort Lauderdale, west from NE 7th Avenue to the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center – commonly known as Sistrunk or Sistrunk Corridor – has been rebranded as “Historic Sistrunk.”

The new name is part of plans by the Historic Sistrunk Community Council to redevelop the blighted area to thriving black business community, as in once was in the 1940s, says Dennis Wright, president of the community council.

“When it came to business, arts and entertainment in Fort Lauderdale, Sistrunk was it,” said Wright. “At any given time so many things would be happening and going on, it made it hard to choose.”

The renaming compliments several redevelopment projects already done by the Northwest-Progresso-Flagler Heights Community Redevelopment Agency (NPFCRA) along the Sistrunk Corridor including streetscape projects.

“The streetscape is part of the infrastructure redevelopment designed to set the tone for business development along that corridor. We are working with the residents on business improvement projects and encouraging developers to come into the community, and highlighting the area’s very strong history as the base for the development,” said Jeremy Earle, Deputy Director of Fort Lauderdale’s Department of Sustainable Development.

The City of Fort Lauderdale has also devoted significant investments and leadership to revitalizing the area.

“Redeveloping Sistrunk as the business center it once was is a current and ongoing effort,” says Pamela Adams, President of the Midtown Business Association and member of the Historic Sistrunk Community Council. “In partnership with the CRA, we hope to make available extraordinary incentives to attract and relocate businesses with an emphasis on programs that will benefit small and minority owned businesses.”

Ann-Marie Sorrel, president and CEO of The Mosaic Group, and spokesperson for the NPFCRA, says “The Sistrunk Corridor has historically been the Black Wall Street of Fort Lauderdale. The community wants to preserve this rich history and attract and retain black businesses in the area, and become an important part of local economy.”

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