‘Transportation facility’ honorees include Democratic operative, felled deputy

repaving roads
Broward County Commissioner Jared Moskowitz's father among the honorees to have 'transportation facilities' bear their name.

The Legislature has given its final approval to a bill that honors several Floridians names by bestowing their names on state roads.

On Tuesday, the House unanimously approved a bill (SB 160) introduced by Republican Sen. Gayle Harrell. Rep. Jayer Williamson explained the bill in the House. The Senate also unanimously approved the measure, meaning the legislation now awaits the Governor’s signature.

For the $18,720 cost of erecting new signs, the state gives those who have made their mark a place for all time, or at least until the ocean rises.

The 3-mile stretch of University Drive from the Sawgrass Expressway to State Road 827 will be renamed Michael Moskowitz Drive, after the prominent Florida Democratic Party operative, influential lawyer and lobbyist who entertained Presidents at his Parkland home. Michael Moskowitz died in January at age 68 from pancreatic cancer.

The honor came as a surprise to his son, Broward County Commissioner Jared Moskowitz, whose former colleagues in the Legislature submitted the suggestion.

“It’s overwhelming,” said Moskowitz, who was first elected to the Parkland City Commission at age 25 while still in law school and is now running for Congress. “My dad would have absolutely loved it.”

“It makes me so sad that he’s not here to see it,” Moskowitz added.

The elder Moskowitz leaves a legacy of influence and accomplishment in and out of the courtroom. He defended Sheriff Gregory Tony, for example, against a pair of lawsuits. One of them involved back pay for some former deputies, and another challenged Tony’s eligibility for the job because of his juvenile record in which the Sheriff admitted killing someone.

Martin Luther King Jr. is among the honorees in the bill. The stretch of State Road 519 between Rosa L. Jones Drive and Interstate 95 in Brevard County will be renamed the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Highway.

Also, starting July 1, State Road 87 between East Bay Boulevard and U.S. 98 will be known as the Ira Mae Wells-Bruce Memorial Highway, in honor of Ira Mae Wells-Bruce, Santa Rosa County’s first female commissioner.

This year’s road designations also memorialized community members who died prematurely from COVID-19.

Upon its completion, the interchange at First Coast Expressway and Henley Road in Clay County will be called Sgt. Eric John Twisdale Memorial Interchange, in honor of Clay County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric John Twisdale, who died of the virus he contracted in the line of duty at the age of 49.

The stretch of State Road A1A between the northern and southern ends of Galt Ocean Drive will be called Pio Ieraci Memorial Drive, in honor of Pio Ieraci. Ieraci was a Broward civic leader who led the effort for beach renourishment, in addition to other efforts. He died at 59 of pneumonia related to COVID-19.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


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