By: Max Crampton-Thomas

4 min read December 2019 — To move a city forward both economically and community-wise, it takes a leadership with the forethought to develop for the future and individuals with their finger on the community’s pulse. The Mayor of the City of Plantation Lynn Stoner recently sat down with Invest: and discussed her first year as mayor, the key challenges her city faces, and how customer service has become the buzz phrase for her administration and how it deals with the community.

 

What has been a key focus of your first year as mayor of Plantation?

 

One of the many components that I chose to focus on is our transportation corridor. Plantation’s population is approximately 94,000 residents, 22 square miles and it’s right in the middle of the county, 10 minutes away from the Port Everglades and 15 minutes away from the airport. About 70% of the pass-through traffic on University Drive does not originate in Plantation, so one of my priorities was to be on the Board of Broward County’s Metropolitan Planning Organization. As a result, we will have adaptive lighting installed on University Drive starting in 2020. The following year, we will start the project on Pine Island, and we are in conversation regarding the bridge from Midtown across the river to State Road 84. These are hugely important and beneficial initiatives. Another major city initiative stems from 2016 when our citizens approved a $60-million bond issue. We are working now to complete these projects in the areas of public works, public safety, and parks and recreation. These projects will provide tangible improvements for residents, visitors, and businesses. 

 

We have people arriving to Plantation every day, calling or visiting to explore areas and opportunities, which has us absolutely thrilled. Being a strong mayor, I am trying to retain our hometown feel. I’ve lived here since 1970. I went to high school here and my three children and granddaughter are still in town. I understand the family component of Plantation. And keeping with this hometown feel, our first Light Up City Hall event was held on Dec. 7 and we anticipate making this as an annual event. 

 

What makes Plantation attractive to new businesses?

 

There was a time when Plantation was the golden city of the county. Now, many of the people that were raised here, are coming back . They have fond memories of where they used to fish, ride their bikes and go to our parks. They want to come back to raise their children in a similar environment.

 

We are focusing on maintaining that hometown feeling amid the development. We are now putting the finishing touches on our Midtown district, which was created in 1980 to be high density. We are handling the traffic in a manner that you feel comfortable coming here, taking a walk, riding a bike or taking a shuttle. We are focused on finding the right balance for our residents, visitors and businesses.

 

How is Plantation focused on government as a customer service?

 

As a contractor, I understand when people talk about their project costs. I understand their financial constraints when trying to put a project together. The city has codes that must be complied with but there is a way to present that information in a more palatable manner. City staff needs to understand the business consequences of their comments and we as a city need to understand the impacts of our rules and regulations and take a balanced approach. We are also striving to streamline business processes with a goal of transitioning to online plan review and permitting over the next several years as part of our “Paperless Plantation” initiative. This particular initiative is part of an overall effort through strategic planning that will focus on providing greater customer service across all 16 city departments. The City of Plantation believes in continuous improvement and every day we look for ways to better serve our stakeholders.

 

What are the main challenges that the city is facing as it grows economically?

 

Coming from the private sector, I always want things done a little faster. Still, when I look back over the last year, we’ve come a long way. Traffic and transportation are the main challenges, as well as sustainability. Along with our partners, Broward County, FDOT and MPO, our transportation initiatives together with Midtown upgrades will continue to offer a welcoming hometown feel that everyone will enjoy.

 

For more on our interviewee, visit:

http://www.plantation.org/