April 2018 – Fort Lauderdale staffs a team to manage its growing nighttime economy. While Fort Lauderdale might be widely known for its nightlife, from the early days of Spring Break bars to the high-end Las Olas restaurants of today, there’s never been someone at City Hall directly in charge of managing it.
Until now. Last year, the city set aside an entire department to be managed by its new nighttime economy manager, Sarah Hannah-Spurlock. A veteran local government employee, Hannah-Spurlock previously worked for Sunrise, Key West, and briefly for the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. We reached out to hear more about her new position. Amsterdam is credited with inventing the “night mayor” position in 2014, and it has spread to cities worldwide.
Vibrant and Safe After-Hours Life in Fort Lauderdale
What have you learned from those efforts? Fortunately, I’ve had the opportunity to meet Mirik Milan from Amsterdam and other nighttime economy managers and hear them speak about their efforts. One of my biggest takeaways would be the necessity of partnering and vibrant and safe after-hours life that builds on what Fort Lauderdale already offers. Without their commitment, creativity energy, and passionate contribution, all we have is a bunch of government regulation.
Nightlife in Fort Lauderdale to be Nurtured
Second, we need to realize that “nightlife” doesn’t refer only to a party scene but rather a life where a significant segment of the population works, lives, and plays after five. It’s important that we address their needs as well.
Third, the nightlife isn’t something to be feared and shut down, but rather nurtured and improved.
How will the $1.4 million set aside yearly for Fort Lauderdale’s nighttime management team be used?