DANIA BEACH, Fla. - Demolition began Wednesday on an old wooden roller coaster in Dania Beach.
The defunct Dania Beach Hurricane was being disassembled piece by piece to make way for a new shopping center called Dania Pointe.
Kimco Realty is developing the 102-acre site east of Interstate 95 near Stirling Road.
Paul Puma, regional president of Kimco Realty, said the roller coaster has served as a landmark for South Florida commuters on Interstate 95 for 16 years.
"'Honey, I'm almost home. I can see the roller coaster,'" Puma said in describing the conversations that husbands have likely had with their wives while driving past the landmark.
The Dania Beach Hurricane opened in 2000 and was billed as the "largest wooden roller coaster in Florida," but it closed in 2011 and has since remained abandoned.
Saying goodbye to the roller coaster may be difficult for some, but Mayor Marco Salvino said the tax revenue that Dania Pointe will bring to the city is well worth it.
"It's time to move on a little bit," he said.
Salvino had the honor of tearing off the first piece of the roller coaster. He hopes that Dania Pointe becomes the new landmark for the city.
"There's always an emotion though when you break something up, but all of this will heal," he said.
The mixed business-residential complex is expected to open in the fall of 2017.
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