The City of Sunrise was incorporated in 1961 by Norman Johnson – an innovative developer whose model homes attracted buyers to what was then the remote western edge of Broward County in southeast Florida. Originally known as Sunrise Golf Village, the City had a population of 4,300 and comprised just 1.75 square miles by 1967. Then, during the 1970s – as Broward County began to push west – the City experienced its first real growth.
In 1971, the City, by referendum, changed its name to the City of Sunrise. Through annexation, Sunrise eventually expanded to its current boundaries – encompassing more than 18 square miles, reaching the Everglades and dropping south of I-595/State Road 84. The City is situated approximately six miles west of Fort Lauderdale, and is adjoined by the communities of Weston, Davie, Tamarac, Lauderhill and Plantation.
By October 1984, the City had reached an estimated population of 50,000. In the mid 1980s, growth gave way to challenges, as the City was faced with financial difficulties, limited economic opportunities and a lack of adequate civic amenities. Fortunately, the City’s Commission and residents had the foresight to recognize that Sunrise could do better. Prompted by that realization, the City of Sunrise began its metamorphosis. In the early ’90s, Sunrise worked to put its financial house in order, rebuild its infrastructure and had begun to establish itself as a center for corporate headquarters. By the mid 1990s, the City was recognized as one of the leading municipalities in South Florida.
In 1998, the BB&T Center opened its doors to tremendous fanfare. This state-of-the-art arena – the second largest in the nation – serves as the home of the NHL’s Florida Panthers hockey team and hosts top national entertainment and events. Sunrise has also developed into one of Florida’s top tourist destinations, attracting several million national and international visitors each year with an extensive assortment of shopping and entertainment choices. The City’s appeal is further enhanced by its convenient, accessible location in the heart of the tri-county area. The City is in close proximity to the Florida Turnpike and I-95, and is bordered by the Sawgrass Expressway, I-75 and I-595.
Over the last decade, the City has fulfilled a commitment to improving residents’ quality of life with approximately $325 million in capital improvements completed or underway – the most significant public investment in a community being made by any municipality in Broward County today. At the same time, Sunrise has reduced the property tax rate for the past thirteen consecutive years.
Sunrise offers its 85,000+ residents a variety of attractive, well-maintained neighborhoods – from private, gated golf-course communities to quality rental properties. Sunrise also continues to provide its growing population with first-rate services, and is the county’s recognized leader in providing quality-of-life facilities for residents. The City offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities, including a soccer club, golf course, a tennis club, playgrounds and municipal swimming pools – as well as a Senior Center and a Civic Center complex featuring a 300-seat theater, an art gallery and banquet facilities. Sunrise is also home to eleven public schools, two post offices and two public libraries.
Today, Sunrise boasts its own flourishing job market and has emerged as the county’s leader in commerce, having developed the largest corporate office park in South Florida. From humble beginnings, Sunrise has also grown into a sophisticated city of culture – offering residents and visitors abundant opportunities to experience art, theatre, fine dining and first-class entertainment.