At sunset this past father's day, some folks on the beach must have thought the Town of Surfside was a bit early with their Fourth of July fireworks display.
Who but the residents of this slow-paced seaside town would know that the celebration was for the much anticipated soft opening of our grand new community center.
Nearly six years ago, setting aside a nostalgia for worn and familiar, town interests bullishly moved forward with the costly controversial demolition of a perfectly old building and the new construction of a bigger, better oasis. Trouble was the ambitious plan was often compared to the re-invention of the wheel. The project seemed to languish with the southern drawl of small town bureaucracy, distracting promise of a sunnier tomorrow and finally the sentimental loss of a fragile connectedness with neighbors.
The heat was on to get work done on time for the promised grand opening. With hardhat nipping and tucking frenzy, manual labor pressed the site into service and the official ribbon cutting went off without a hitch, kinda.
One interior space puzzlingly resembling a Sobe sitting room, a charming long-time resident stood confounded by the new glass enclosure smelling very now where our quiet old library once stood. She made a graceful perplexing smile when i told her we were standing in what will one day be a virtual media center with kindles.
Volunteers dressed in commemorative tee's hurriedly posed for a snapshot before scurrying for cover from impending thunderhead storms. Soon after an Early Lightning Warning Siren system was triggered signaling the evacuation command with 'the russians are coming' screeching blasts.
Father figures of Surfside, Mayor Dietch and Cub Scout Master Howard ushered in the new era of community vitality. These guys are comfortably smart, fair, casual and reassuring.