Thursday, August 14, 2008
For Whom the Wrecking Ball Tolls
Many regular working folk are oblivious to the goings on in local government, particularly with regard to big long-term "improvement" projects. When made aware, we are confounded and often disappointed with irreversible costly decisions made on our behalf by elected officials.
For years residents of Surfside enjoyed the deco style community center and pool on Collins and 93rd. Hanging out there was always nice, it was the neighborhood anchor. Three years ago, the town stewardship was shifting and tax chest was flush with revenue from the halcyon days of the now busted housing bubble. After a costly renovation of the old town hall, talk began on what to do with the old community center. Some wanted to renovate but others wanted to build new. Much ado was made with an intense period of design activity for everyone to chime in. Then one day 2 years ago a kid got a mild electrical shock in the water and the pool was quickly condemned, shut down and more recently the whole place was demolished in just several days. Were there was once an wind-worn and charming center for the community there is now an empty gravelly parcel of beach-front.
Now the town officials want residents to decide, with a vote, if we should borrow 16.5 million dollars to build a fancy new community center.
But people want to know why the community center was demolished when there is no money secured to build a new facility. The logic here seems kind of back-ash-wards. Why not keep the place functioning till all the planning were complete? Why destroy the public commons? We have been without a pool for two years and by the time something gets built it will be another three years and our kids will be off to college by then.
For now, the only place to meet neighbors is at Publix.