Final Seven50 Summit Recap: ‘A Time to Lead’

Seven50 Hosts a Final Summit Presenting the Seven50 Plan and
Building Coalitions for the Future

More than 300 local residents, business and civic leaders, elected officials, urban planners, government leaders and activists joined Seven50 representatives in the last in a series of four public summits. The event, titled “A Time to Lead,” took place on Jan. 15 at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center.

The theme of the summit, beyond presenting the Seven50 Plan, was to explore ways to transition from planning to implementation and to determine regional initiatives and organize coalitions for the future. The summit achieved these goals by delivering an interactive experience through engaging presentations, expert-panel discussions, videos, and interactive audience polling. 

The morning began with opening remarks from Samuel Ferreri, mayor of the city of Greenacres and chair of the SFRP Executive Committee, and The Honorable Suzanne Gunzburger, Broward County commissioner and vice chair of the SFRP Executive Committee. 

Next, the complete Seven50 plan was presented for the first time. Marcela Camblor-Cutsaimanis, Seven50 project director, Victor Dover, principal, Dover Kohl & Partners, and Jason King, project director, Dover Kohl & Partners, led this discussion, with a particular focus on the future. Previous summits had emphasized the necessity of working together to form a plan for upcoming generations, and Summit 4 introduced the mechanisms for turning the plan into reality. 

Regional Planning Council directors Mike Busha and Jim Murley set the stage for further discussion on implementation, moving into a panel on Coalitions for the Future. Urban Land Institute’s Carla Coleman moderated the panel, which included the following speakers: Doug Bournique of Indian River Citrus League; Sara Fain of Everglades Law Center; Kathryn Hensley from St. Lucie County School Board; Deborah Margol from Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs; Gepsie Metellus from the Haitian Neighborhood Center; Gerry O’Reilly from the Florida Department of Transportation; Jack Stephens from the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority and Roman Gastesi from Monroe County. This combination of panelists facilitated the addressing some of the most important topics for South Floridians today, from the environment, to culture, to economic certainty. 

At the summit, Seven50 organizers also presented the plan’s new website at www.seven50report.org, where the plan will be permanently housed and updated as new developments and information becomes available. In addition, the audience enthusiastically applauded after viewing the plan’s video, which highlighted key findings, as well as ways to leverage the plan moving forward. The video may be seen here.

Prior to a quick recess, Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief, Palm Beach County Mayor Priscilla Taylor, and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez of Miami-Dade County, members of the Tri-County Mayor’s Compact, announced that the  in which the three counties would collaborate and unite to use the ideas presented in the Seven50 plan to the full advantage of the South Florida community. The mayors discussed how their respective counties could leverage certain aspects of the Seven50 Plan, incorporate them into their existing programs and transition from planning to implementation. They also discussed how to best collaborate and manage future growth and development among their counties and together as a region.

Following the recess, Indian River County Commissioner Peter O’Bryan and Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers concluded the summit in a discussion centered on “a time to lead.” They delivered their final thoughts of the plan, reminding the audience of the need to make use of all available resources and work together collaboratively for the brightest future for the Southeast Florida region.