Village Hall to make the big move on Dec. 17

By Gary Alan Ruse….

Village clerk Meighan Alexander readies some of the many crates for the move.

Palmetto Bay’s Village Hall started out sharing space, and very little at that, in the Chamber South building located at 900 Perrine Ave., but that quickly proved inadequate and it relocated to the old BellSouth Building at 8950 SW 152 St. where it has been renting space since June 2003.

The Village Hall finally has a place of its own, built from the ground up with innovative “green” technology, located at 9705 E. Hibiscus St. With construction complete, the council and staff will move into their new headquarters on Dec. 17 in a four-day operation that has been planned with the precision of a military mission.

Fanny Carmona Gonzalez, normally the Parks and Recreation director, is serving as the coordinator for the move, leading a team of department directors and Village Hall Task Force Group Leads. It was a different sort of challenge from her usual work, but one that she welcomed.

“It’s been fun and interesting and challenging all at the same time,” Gonzalez said. “It added different responsibilities and tasks that we would not be doing before, that some of us never did before. And with the direction of the manager, he divided all the different tasks we had to complete and gave us timelines. Each director was responsible for one of the areas, whether it was equipment, documents, furniture, and we each tackled that task, put the plan together and we’re almost there.”

It should be noted that all the work involved in getting ready for the move, done during the past several months, has been in addition to the usual day-to-day work that staffers normally do.

“We really have a good sense of unity and teamwork in our village and we all wear different hats,” Gonzalez said. “We’ve accomplished this and I think it’s going to be a smooth transition.”

Everything in the current village hall offices has been organized, labeled, placed into large yellow transport crates supplied by the movers, Suddath Commercial Solutions, with every staff member responsible for his or her own materials, phones and even waste baskets. Everything will be ready by Thursday, Dec. 16.

Village Hall will be closed to the public on Friday, Dec. 17, through Monday, Dec. 20, as the movers transport everything to the new facility and staff members unpack and set things up. The new village hall is expected to be up and operational on Tuesday, Dec. 21, which coincidentally is the day of Winter Solstice, the shortest and darkest day of the year. It is a time when many different religious and cultural celebrations occur and the dark and dreary winter time is tempered by the hope of spring’s new beginnings.

But even on the days the offices are closed for the move, residents will still be able to call if they need to.

“The phones will still be operational,” Gonzalez said. “We’re planning on transferring calls to the Public Works Building or the After Hours Duty phone number we have for the village as well.”

The Village Policing Unit also will be making the move to the new building, but all calls to them will still be handled normally.

Besides having less cramped space for the various departments and offices that serve the public, the new village hall will have its own council chambers for monthly meetings so the village no longer will need to rent the Deering Estate Visitors Center for that purpose.

The phone numbers will remain the same, with the main number for Village Hall being 305-259-1234, the after hours duty desk being 305-506-7965. The Village Police Administrative Office is still 305-259-1270, non-emergency number 305-476-5423, and of course 911 for emergencies.

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