My position on rebuilding the Town Hall & Public Safety Complex:
Jarvis hall is situated on a prime piece of real estate in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. El Prado park is nestled from the ocean to Town Hall giving some of the best views to those that visit our Town. The complex also includes our long standing volunteer fire department, which has served our Town for many decades and does a great job. A few years ago, the commission also acquired an adjacent property and converted it to a public safety complex for our ambulance and police departments.
Unfortunately, the property is no longer very functional or efficient for its many uses. We have fire trucks sitting under tents, ATVs in the grass and public safety professionals sitting in old hotel rooms.
So far, the Town staff and commission have not started the official planning on rebuilding the complex. That conversation should be started to understand the many needs and goals of such a project. Residents, architects and our partners that use the facility every day should list their top priorities in an open and transparent setting.
Once a concept has been mapped out and preliminary designs are in place, we need to understand what the price tag estimate is. This project will not be cheap and would most likely cost upwards of $20million. When Lighthouse Point had a similar project a few years ago, they followed a similar process and I believe their approach was good, putting residents first.
After we have understood the cost, I would ask for the voters to approve it in a ballot. This is not a referendum or charter amendment but a simple vote by the residents to spend a large sum of money. A commissioner should do the work of the residents but ensure that residents make the decisions that permanently change our Town. Not allowing the residents a voice in the matter or leaving it to just a few voices is not the way we should govern in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. We are a Town made great by the people that live and visit here and we must include them in the process.