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1 - Holmberg Road

“The way the road is now, it’s two feet lower than the rest of Holmberg Road. Instead of going up around the curves it goes down. If you take your eyes off the road, you can end up in the canal.”  

The quote above about Holmberg Road was taken from the Fort Lauderdale News and Sun-Sentinel of Thursday, March 18, 1982. The quote was from then Mayor Becky Gerren who was scheduling a meeting of the Parkland Land Use Committee and developer Narco Realty, Inc. representatives to discuss improvements and the realignment of Holmberg Road.

Who was Holmberg? Was he one of the original founders of Parkland? Did he own all the land? Did he design the road? There’s not much known about Mr. Holmberg but what we do know is that he was farming land in Parkland owned by someone else (sharecropping). To gain access to the fields he wanted to farm and to distribute his crops, he plowed a trail from State Road 7 west into what is now his ‘namesake road’. At some point his access trail became known as Holmberg Road. Even as recently as 1982, Holmberg Road was the only entrance to the City so it was quite important!

“Old” Holmberg Road in the mid-1970s looking west, taken just west of SR7/441: Two lanes, straight, narrow, (no curbs, sidewalks, or bicycle lanes) and not much traffic, lined with natural Florida brush, undergrowth and trees standing thick and fast!

[Photograph by Mike O’Bryon/Miami Herald Staff—Published in the Ft. Lauderdale News and Sun-Sentinel,  January 27, 1979.]

As the population grew in the 1970s, Holmberg Road went straight west from State Road 7 along a path which is now Ranch Road (in BBB Ranches). 

By 1979, Parkland was bracing for progress. Narco Realty owned and wanted to develop the land called Parkland Lakes Planned Unit Development (also known as Cypress Head). After more than a year of haggling over a city zoning permit for Parkland Lakes, in December 1978 the City approved the Lakes project and won 23 promises from Narco, including Narco building a $75,000 City Hall on Narco-owned land (“Old” City Hall at Holmberg and Park Side Drive). 

Narco Realty completed the first phase of development of Parkland Lakes. Before Narco was allowed to begin the second phase of construction, Narco needed to satisfy two of its promises to: a) upgrade Holmberg Road in accordance with state standards from Narco’s western boundary to State Road 7 and b) align Holmberg Road to Johnson Road, which was east of State Road 7 in then unincorporated Broward County. By March 1982 (when Mayor Gerren made the comments in the first paragraph), Narco had completed 70% of the Holmberg Road construction but the County Engineering and Transportation Department rejected the project because it was not up to county and state standards and the project laid dormant since August 1981.

This picture is looking northeast across Old Holmberg Road intersecting with US441/SR7  before Holmberg was curved to meet Johnson Road which is to its north. Also, Winner’s Circle was not yet built nor most of Pine Tree Estates on both the north and south sides of Holmberg.

The picture from 1981/1982 taken from the southwest looking to the northeast. “Old” Holmberg Road is across the center of the picture (to the left side is what is now Ranch Road). Riverside Drive is the road on an angle at the right. The Equestrian Center land is on the left center between new Holmberg and old Holmberg. Phase 1 of CypressHead is at the top right with its 60+ acre lake. Tall Pines was built on the land at the bottom of the picture up to Riverside Drive and below the road construction area.

[Photograph donated to the Historical Society of Parkland by Commissioner Mary Jane Sexton.]

It took until mid-1982, but eventually Narco came up with a suitable design to move the road several hundred feet north to align Holmberg Road with Johnson Road, raise the elevation to avoid flooding during rainstorms and improve the curving of the road to eliminate the safety hazards.

Parkland was now ready for the boom in housing and the associated traffic increases. The population grew steadily from a few hundred in 1980 to over 3,500 in 1990 and to almost 14,000 by 2000. As the population grew, Holmberg Road was extended further west, traffic circles were built and traffic lights were installed to control the traffic increases. Throughout this period, and even with today’s 24,000 residents, we’re all still able to enjoy Parkland’s “Country Elegance”--especially along Holmberg Road. 

Written by James Weiss; Archive Retrieval by Pierre Hodot; Edited by Ira Goldman; Creative Art Work by Bill Reicherter