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OCTOBER 2008: Not According to Plan
 

Coral Ridge Properties main office was on Oakland Park Boulevard.  Without one structure in Coral Springs in 1964, they decided they needed a local sales office plus something to lure people to TFO as Coral Springs was called in the 1960’s- Too Far Out.  So a temporary one-room sales office and, as an attention-getter, a covered bridge were built in early 1964. 

Within two years, the grand colonial-style Coral Ridge Properties Administration Building opened on Sample Road and there was no use for the sales office.  Indeed some of Coral Ridge Properties officers wanted it destroyed because of the bitter arguments they endured there in the planning of the City.  On the off chance the few City officials at the time wanted the building, it was offered to them with the proviso that they move it from its location on the NE corner of Wiles Road and State Road 7.  It was accepted and is now the Museum of Coral Springs History in Mullins Park.

The covered bridge was a sales gimmick to attract people to an area with nothing more than 10 acres of pasture, swamp, snakes and alligators.  It was a fanciful structure as there was no need for a bridge with a roof to keep the snow off or to span a creek that occasionally ran dry.  But Mr. Hunt knew how to lure a crowd and demanded a bridge be built.  It was also symbolic of the unique city he wished to create.  Periodically the bridge needed structural repairs and it was suggested it should be demolished.  Each time the public said no.  The Coral Springs Covered Bridge is now a Florida Heritage Site and the only covered bridge in the public right of way in the State of Florida.

The first 10,000 acres of property were bought in 1962 and 1964 from the Lyons family.  The next 3,000 acres were not acquired until 1971.  Robert Hofmann, executive vice- president of Coral Ridge Properties, said he spent three years trying to buy Remsberg Ranch north of Wiles Road between Coral Ridge Drive and Riverside Drive.  Luther Remsberg seemed more interested in having his company than closing the deal.  Finally he agreed to swap acreage for a similar spread in Palm Beach County, to avoid any tax consequences from the sale.

Attempts to buy a further 5,000 acres failed.  Mr. Hofmann’s four trips to see Martin Leitner in New York City were not successful.  He owned the property that was to become Parkland and would not sell it at any price.  Coral Ridge Properties wasn’t the only entity that thought the land should be part of Coral Springs.  The State District Representative met with officials from the cities of Parkland and Coral Springs in 1971 to discuss the dissolution of Parkland.  There was no water department, sewer system, library, police or fire departments, all municipal requirements.  Harold Bockhold, then mayor of Parkland, told me that he countered that all residents had wells, septic tanks and weekly visits from the Broward County bookmobile.  As for the police and fire departments, he conceded there were none and he would dissolve the city if Coral Springs would immediately start servicing Parkland.  Ben Geiger, representing Coral Springs, said they could not meet response time requirements, as the only access was Holmberg Road.  Parkland retained its charter.       

So the boundaries of Coral Springs were set and the initial plan continued to be revised as development proceeded, guided by the original dream of creating an ideal city.





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