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Rep. Hastings Urges FAA to Extend Lease Agreements for Lockhart, Fort Lauderdale Stadiums

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL

Sends Letter with Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ted Deutch, and Allen West to FAA Administrator

Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Miramar) sent the following letter to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator J. Randolph Babbitt requesting two 18-month lease extensions for the Broward County School Board and Fort Lauderdale Strikers soccer team of Lockhart and Fort Lauderdale Stadiums, respectively, which expire on June 30, 2011. Joining Hastings on the letter are fellow South Florida colleagues Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Congressman Ted Deutch, and Congressman Allen West. (Please find below and attached a copy of the letter).

The 60-acre Lockhart Stadium site was given along with Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport to the City of Fort Lauderdale in 1947. For over 24 years, the City has supported interscholastic sports through a cooperative lease agreement with the School Board. In addition, Fort Lauderdale Stadium currently serves as the home of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

Community efforts to keep Fort Lauderdale students and the Strikers playing at the Executive Airport stadiums are now in their third iteration. The FAA agreed to prior extensions of the lease terms in 2008 and 2009.

June 17, 2011

Mr. J. Randolph Babbitt
Administrator
Federal Aviation Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation
800 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20591

Dear Administrator Babbitt:

We write to urge the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to reconsider its decision regarding the Broward County School Board and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers' respective lease agreements for Lockhart and Fort Lauderdale Stadiums, located at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. Should the current lease agreements expire on June 30, student athletes as well as the Strikers soccer team will have no choice but to find a new place to play. Given the extraordinary importance of these stadiums to the greater community, we request that the FAA approve two 18-month lease extensions.

Lockhart and Fort Lauderdale Stadiums have been landmarks in the South Florida community over the past 50 years. Student football games, soccer matches, and various other events regularly draw crowds of thousands from in and around our Congressional districts and help support the local economy. Furthermore, Lockhart Stadium is central to the interscholastic programs of several Broward County schools, and serves as the home field for Fort Lauderdale, Stranahan, and Dillard High Schools.

We recognize the FAA's long-term plan to zone the property for airport use, including revenue generation, and the City of Fort Lauderdale has taken steps to comply with these goals. In the interim, we ask for your understanding while redevelopment negotiations continue between the City and Schlitterbahn Development Group. A short-term extension of the School Board and Strikers' lease agreements is in the best interest of all parties involved, ensuring that Fort Lauderdale's students, athletes, and sports fans have access to quality athletic facilities while supporting the needs of the FAA.

Currently, the Executive Airport receives approximately five percent of the gross receipts from the School Board and Strikers' stadium revenue. The City has previously proposed extending by 18 months the terms of the present agreements at an increased rate of 10 percent of revenues. We strongly encourage the FAA to approve these terms, which would further cement the Executive Airport's role in the community, provide for the continued maintenance of the stadiums, and allow FAA and City officials more time to plan for the future use of the property.

Administrator Babbitt, we remain hopeful that this matter can be resolved swiftly and in a manner that allows the South Florida community to continue using Lockhart and Fort Lauderdale Stadiums. Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to your response. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Sincerely,

Alcee L. Hastings
Member of Congress

Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Member of Congress

Ted Deutch
Member of Congress

Allen West
Member of Congress


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