Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Parks and Rec Gets into E-Gaming

In a modern spin on the traditional offerings by a city parks department, an electronic gaming center will be added to the list of recreation services this year. Officials say it will also incorporate learning principles.

by Brittany Wallman, Sun Sentinel / March 6, 2019
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(TNS) — The first electronic video gaming center in Fort Lauderdale will open later this year along Sistrunk Boulevard, in a modern twist on parks and recreation.

“We want to offer it like a baseball option or a football option. We want to have a recreation e-sports option,” City Manager Chris Lagerbloom said.

The e-sports room will allow young people to compete against other gamers in the world, the latest in gaming technology.

The video games offered by the city will be “age-appropriate,” city officials said, and will incorporate “STEAM” activities, (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math), as well as homework assistance and promotion of healthy lifestyles.

But it won’t be all educational fare. Popular shooter games like Fortnight, will be offered, Lagerbloom said.

The gamers will use consoles, like PlayStation or XBox, and will be supervised, Lagerbloom said. Gory or ultra-violent videogames — like those in which gamers shoot police officers — won’t be allowed.

The city’s parks and recreation department will operate the center, at 930 Northwest 6th St./Sistrunk Boulevard. The small building is on a section of Sistrunk Boulevard that’s undergoing redevelopment. Commissioners voted Tuesday to pay a $124,880 rent over three years for the 2,137 square foot space.

Fort Lauderdale is making an effort to improve its parks and recreation offerings, especially after residents complained in last year’s city survey that Fort Lauderdale isn’t family-friendly enough.

City spokesman Chaz Adams said details are still being ironed out. The city hopes to open the e-gaming center by the end of the school year, and it will be available for summer camps to use.

©2019 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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