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Broward County community fighting back against proposed multi-million dollar forensic science center

Leaders in Broward County are hoping to build a new state of the art crime lab in Fort Lauderdale, but families in the area are not so happy about it.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Leaders in Broward County are hoping to build a new state of the art crime lab in Fort Lauderdale, but families in the area are not so happy about it.

Many of the people who live in the historically Black community where the new building is being slated to go up do not want it there.

Those residents were at Monday’s commission meeting to speak out against it, and they say they will fight all the way to the courtroom if necessary.

Broward County officials have already voted to move forward on the nearly 177,000 square-foot Forensic Science Center slated to be built just north of Northwest 16th Court off 23rd Avenue, a stone’s throw from Atlantic Technical College and Rock Island Elementary School.

The building would house the county medical examiner’s office and Broward Sheriff’s Office’s crime lab, among other things, as both operations have outgrown their current spaces.

County Administrator Bertha Henry said the land was bought in 2017 with the new facility in mind.

“It is not something that we envisioned would be deleterious to the community,” she said. “Both of these facilities are in residential areas, today. They’re not harmful, they haven’t done all the bad things that people have indicated that they think that they would, but I can’t change have people feel.”

There were community meetings and presentations, and Local 10 News was told that input was included in the design.

As word spread of the project, so did frustrations from locals.

“We have enough traffic as it is because they gave us an industrial park area, it’s not a community for us to bring more and dump more on top of us,” said Sharon Alexander, who lives nearby the proposed site. “Dale Holness let down his community. It was his job. It is his responsibility to protect his community.”

The site is in Commissioner Dale Holness’s district; District 9.

He originally voted to move forward with the project, but he brought the issue to the commission on Monday, along with a change of heart.

“If they don’t want it, then I have to be their voice,” Holness said at the meeting. “This is my district. I must represent them.”


About the Author:

Layron Livingston made the move from Ohio's Miami Valley to Miami, Florida, to join the Local 10 News team.