Economic Development
March 8, 2012, 2:37 PM
Filed under: City Staff, Development

March 8, 2012.  Hollywood has quietly rolled out an eye-popping economic development policy – one that has solid intellectual underpinnings and a promising track record in other locations. This is the first time, to the best of our knowledge, that our City has formulated an economic development strategy that focuses not only on improving the City’s economic base but also on raising the earning power of Hollywood residents.

The new approach is based on the concept of the “industry cluster” – that is, a geographical concentration of companies that are interconnected by the markets they serve and the products they produce. Silicon Valley with its thousands of high-tech companies is the most obvious example. The big question for us is this: Does Hollywood have the necessary assets to create an environment in which industry clusters will grow and prosper?

To answer that question, we start with what we already have.  Take for example, our city’s coastal location between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach: three shipping ports, three airports, ready access to the Florida Turnpike and I-95.  Listen to Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark, our city’s economic development guru, applying this approach to Hollywood. She says we must understand and capitalize on what’s already here – the “high-growth, high quality industries that are located in Hollywood (such as Life Sciences, Marine Industries, Aviation/Avionics, Logistics/Transportation, and Tourism) and the cross-clustering of these important industries.”  She adds that these are unique assets on which to build our development strategy.  Groups of closely related and complementary industries operating in Hollywood would reinforce each other. In addition, they would result in more and better jobs for our residents, the great majority of whom now work outside Hollywood.

She goes on to name the Joe Di Maggio Children’s Hospital, Nova Southeastern University’s National Coral Reef Institute, and Barry University’s College of Health Sciences Campus in downtown Hollywood as thriving Hollywood industries that have remained stable and strong during the recent recession and are projected to grow in the future.

Meanwhile, in furtherance of the new economic development policy, city staffer Anthony Grisby has been studying Hollywood demographics, documenting such troubling statistics as an unemployment rate higher and median income lower than nationally.  He’s also documented that health sciences, for example, can provide many entry-level jobs for high school graduates as well as job training and advancement opportunities that can help to increase Hollywood’s dwindling middle class. He demonstrates that a focus on business recruitment in health sciences would build on the resources we already have and  provide more employment opportunities for Hollywood residents.

To support this new approach, the City has combined its economic and community development functions in a new Department of Community and Economic Development.  Since the Director of the former Community Development Department resigned last year, the position has remained vacant. A search is now underway for a director of the new combined department.  Keep your eyes trained in its direction to spot what we hope will be significant, positive changes to community development, economic development, and redevelopment in the City of Hollywood.




The City should hire people who own small creative service businesses instead of having all creative services done in house. Creative services should be provided by Artists and Creative Service Industry professionals who pay for an Occupational License and rent in the city. Artists and Creative Service professionals should be treated with respect and courtesy and be able to receive credit for their photographs that the city purchases and productions. Talent should be hired by licensed talent agencie who are fingerprinted and pay for an Occupational and State License for all city events. The Creative Service Industry has to compete with their own town and this is not right! Quality and talent should not be overlooked by the city and the CRA especially regarding tourism beautiful images vs not should not be compromised. Courtesy should be given to all people who pay dearly to do business in the city of Hollywood and fair compensation. The middle class who live and own businesses in Hollywood should not have to compete with interns and new art institute graduates. If we want tourism we have to package beautifully and if we want creative professionals to live and spend in Hollywood then we have to employ them!

Comment by Annette

This demonstration of insight and vision is very encouraging. I agree with this initiative and support the city’s efforts to see this come to fruition. However, I believe it will be difficult to attract more tourism dollars to this city when the area surrounding downtown is populated with its current vagrants, etc. This initiative will have a hard time making it to its goal if the ‘scenery’ along Federal HWY doesn’t improve. I’m very interested to see how the city plans to spruce up that part of town.

Comment by Brian Wilkie

Health sciences will play a major role in the rise of the City from the fiscal and social ashes. The state as well needs to concentrate on research and high tech in all areas, not on development, not on more government.

Comment by Charlotte Greenbarg

The tourism aspect needs to be more developed with many of our little Mom and Pop hotels along our corridors and inside the neighborhoods, especially the ones with pools. Instead of renting to folks that are barely making it . . . why not rent to tourists for 3 or 4 times the money! The little apartments need to be upgraded and some efficiencies need to be one bedrooms with kitchens . . . they may have even started off that way . . . but that means jobs and a more desirable look for our city. We have these buildings already, we just need to utilize them better and make them ready for their new cliental with landscaping, paint and our new attitudes and greater expectations. With the internet, people are coming to Hollywood from all over the world and loving it! They can visit our beach and downtown, the Everglades, the Keys, South Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami or numerous gambling establishments while staying right here in our city. They know it’s a great vacation area and also affordable. We could change the face of Hollywood with more tourists coming our way! We could offer training in this industry . . . and help folks make some big changes for themselves and the city.

Comment by Tiffany Grantham

Sounds like a great spot for our interim city manager as much of this development was her idea to begin with and is a very promising step in the right direction.

Comment by Edward F. Holodak

That’s a quick reply, Ed. Our former Interim is now Assistant City Manager and she will supervise the new department. And you’re spot on that this was her idea to begin with.

Comment by Balance Sheet Blog

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