DATE: August 9, 2012
Commissioner Chip LaMarca (a "Gator Boys" fan) holds an alligator during a tour of Everglades Holiday Park.
MEDIA CONTACT: Kimberly Maroe, Public Information Manager
Broward County Commission
The reality series Gator Boys may have recently made Broward County’s Everglades Holiday Park famous nationwide, but it’s been a longtime favorite for locals and visitors looking to experience all that the Florida Everglades have to offer.
In June, Broward County officially took over management of the park from the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission after the expiration of a long-term lease for the 29-acre recreational area.
Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca (an admitted Gator Boys fan) recently spent a day at the park to tour the grounds, get a glimpse of real gators and review what’s in store for the park's future.
“Broward County is centered between two of our greatest natural resources, the Atlantic Ocean and the Everglades. The park is a regional park that is enjoyed by residents, a popular tourist attraction and a source of revenue for the County. It’s important that we work to protect our Everglades, improve the park and use the tools we have to educate younger generations. This includes the work done by Paul Bedard and the volunteers at the Gator Boys Organization, who rescue alligators and return them to their habitat,” said Commissioner LaMarca.
The County has already started several basic renovations to upgrade and improve the park. This week a full-time manager was hired. Work has begun to improve accessibility, upgrade the main building, renovate restrooms, improve traffic flow, replace the wooden fishing pier and construct a new rental pavilion. Broward County signed a one-year agreement with the current concessionaire, Bridges Everglades LLC, which continues to offer airboat rides, boat rentals, sundries, bait and tackle, and fishing and hunting license sales.
The Broward County Commission and Broward County’s Parks and Recreation Division have worked closely with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to ensure that the transition to County management has gone smoothly and without significant interruptions in service. Commissioner Lois Wexler presided over a public presentation of the park’s amended master plan with more than 100 people in attendance. She also plans to earmark $500,000 from her district discretionary funds to design and build a corporate shelter with restrooms that will be utilized by individuals and groups for special events. Everglades Holiday Park was located in Commissioner’s Wexler district prior to redistricting, which placed the park under the jurisdiction of Commissioner Ilene Lieberman.