Before Wednesday, the tiny city of Parkland, Florida was practically off the map.
The quiet, upscale suburb in Broward County, known mainly for its pristine parks, manicured bike paths and strict zoning laws, is home to about 32,000 residents, according to the 2016 U.S. Census.
Wednesday, the image of a tree-lined town tragically shifted when a gunman — 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz — brought an assault weapon to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, killing at least 17 people and wounding 15. Ironically, the city was listed as one of the safest in the country just days before.
The horrific shooting belies Parkland’s statistical profile as a quiet, upscale community.
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▪ Location: Parkland is located in Broward County, just north of Coral Springs and east of the Everglades. It’s not far from the Seminole Casino in Coconut Creek.
▪ Residents: The median household income is $128,292, according to government websites and the U.S. Census. About 58 percent of residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
▪ Real estate: The median value of a single-family home is $490,100, according to the U.S. Census; the average rent is $2,663. There are about Almost 9,000 households, with an average of three people in each.
▪ Commerce: In 2012, there were 3,281 businesses located in Parkland, discreetly announced with street-level monument signs.
▪ Government; Incorporated in 1963, the city is governed by a commission. Voters elect a mayor and four commissioners who meet twice a month to set forth policy. The commission appoints a city manager to oversee the city’s daily operations.
▪ Amenities: There are 8.5 miles of multipurpose trails, bike paths, and sidewalks; a 5.5-acre park with sports field lighting and a tot lot; a 50-acre park with sports field lighting. There is also a 7.5-acre equestrian center, the 20-acre Doris Davis Forman Wilderness Preserve, and seven-acre Liberty Park containing several play areas that sport American patriotic themes.
Right now, the 80-acre Pine Trails Park is in the works. It’s slated to have a community center, amphitheater, three pavilions, four tee ball fields, and a fishing pier and boardwalk. The city also has a library.
▪ Schools: There are two private schools (Mary Help of Christian and Kol Tikvah preschool); three public elementary schools (Riverglades, Heron Heights and Park Trails); one middle school (Westglades) and a single high school — Marjory Stoneman Douglas.