DOA for City Hall and Police Station

Michael Miller, Publisher
Michael Miller, Publisher

My oh my, it looks like the new city hall and a new police station may be DOA, after all – as this city commission doesn’t seem to care about moving this concept forward. Yup, after all the work put in by the city and by the (I’m pretty sure) sole bidder to put together what seemed to be a viable plan, its dead on arrival, say insiders.

Yessirree, gone but not forgotten, says our very informed source. Seems as though the comedy team that serves on the commission, can’t agree on what they really want. So, in the meanwhile, what you see is what you get.

Meanwhile, the Shops at Sunset folks are still banging away, trying to get the boys on the dais to let them put up their rather significant buildings at this currently moribund shopping mall.

Yes, ma’am, its tough to walk through it these days, with barely any shoppers and quite frankly, because it’s pretty desolate. And it ain’t gonna get better by itself! It’s time for the buffoons over at city hall to work closely with the developer (OMG) and help South Miami get back on the map.

Speaking of the “boys on the dais,” there still are no women up there on the city dais. Hmm… What the heck is that all about? Ladies and gents, it’s time to get some women on this commission. It would surely add a bit of decorum and respectability to this otherwise burnt out group of hippies. And by the way, other than Commissioner Josh, the other elected officials all live within earshot of each other and can’t literally go for a short walk without running into one another.

Traffic, traffic, traffic

Did you hear that there is another charter school that is looking around the city for a place to call home. Wow, another school, with lots of kiddies and another annoying hot spot for twice-a-day traffic. Should be interesting to see how they are going to move forward and deal with the city and the lucky nearby neighbors. Oh, by the way, I was over at the existing charter school on SW 68 St and it appears they are doing it right – good for them, the students, and the community.

One Boy’s Story
Martin Baranek, a Holocaust survivor, recently spoke at Books and Books in Pinecrest. Not quite sure how to express how sobering it was to hear him. My goodness… With all that he went though and at his early age, he knows how important it is to tell that story over and over and over again. I’m a bit taken back right now to go on about it, as his story and his book “Determined: One Boy’s Holocaust Survival Story” is seeping its way into my soul…

Mad Hatter Arts Festival
On a much lighter note, let’s take a look at what’s happening in our neighboring burgh of Coconut Grove, at the 1891 home of the late Commodore
Ralph Middleton Munroe, The Barnacle. As you may know, The Barnacle Society has cultivated an active community, offering family-friendly arts, sporting, and volunteer activities centered around the last natural green space in Miami’s oldest neighborhood.

Now they’ve got a big annual event coming up, March 16-17, that you don’t want to miss. Heck, I don’t want to miss it, so here’s the scoop.

The Mad Hatter Arts Festival with Artisans & Vintage Marketplace is a truly great way to celebrate the “old Grove spirit” with the entire family. Celebrating its 14th season, this event takes place on the grounds of The Barnacle Historic State Park and along the sidewalks of Main Highway.

This juried event features artists with works in all types of media. But it’s also a wonderful opportunity for kids – and adults if they must – to dress up as their favorite character from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. 

It’s a crazy fun festival with music and activities for kids of all ages, including a special “Tea Party”  with fruity sips and sweets. Adult food also is available — as well as ice-cold beer.

Movie Night
Oh, and before I forget, on Saturday night, the 16
th, they are hosting a special under-the-stars screening of the 1951 Disney classic film Alice in Wonderland on the grounds of The Barnacle, 8 p.m. Tickets start at $6 each and admission is free for kids age 2 and under.

Throughout the year, The Barnacle Society sponsors many other great events to raise funds and awareness to support this lovely Historic State Park. From moonlight concerts and films, to sunset soirees and Shakespeare in the Park. There’s something for everyone.

But if you are just looking to go sit in a rocking chair and enjoy the bay breeze as it rolls off Biscayne Bay, this is the spot for you. See ya there soon.

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  1. I wrote up some new remarks regarding the gross malfeasance that took place at the time of the rezoning. My remarks mysteriously disappeared from the page. That’s okay! Stay tuned for more at the next city government meeting ,Tuesday. Apr 2.

  2. The city hall property which belongs to the taxpayers of South Miami was illegally rezoned. A 5/5 vote was required to change to a less restrictive use. In addition, the flawed RFP process which included only the Lynx Corporation without even an official appraisal process highlights a corrupt process. Aside from investigations there will be even more lawsuits.

  3. Michael Miller, one would think that hundreds of residents would have replied to your article. You covered some very important topics, and your article is well written.
    1.The “mysterious” status of the deal that was brokered by City Manager Steven Alexander to sell our South Miami City Hall at a rock bottom price.
    2. Traffic issues that will be an undesirable and unbearable consequence if another charter school is allowed in or nearby to South Miami.
    3.Martin Baranek, who survived the holocaust as a youth. He should be honored for telling his story. Receptions should be given to honor him and he should be invited to City Hall to speak to the public about the significance of his experience. Parents should be bringing their children to meet and listen to him. There are so few people left who lived through the Holocaust and WWII, that we should treasure and honor these people who can teach us so much about the importance of protecting and nurturing the ideals that our country was founded upon.
    4.& 5. Entertainment. This is very nice for all those who have the leisure time to enjoy; however, your first 3 topics should be of much greater significance to society.
    We live in a hedonistic society of “bread and circuses” in which these pleasures take precedence over vitally important issues.
    Where is citizen input besides myself and 2 others.
    Incidentally,all 3 of us are either Board members or former Board members.
    Donald Jackson serves on the South Miami CRA Board and Dr. Claudia Hauri and I have served our fellow residents as Planning Board members. All for the right reasons. Service to our fellow residents who are MIA.

  4. Reality is that we are a separate municipality, but we are not a community. Wasn’t always that way back in the day. The fact is that less than 25% of our registered voters cast a ballot, and 72% voted on a non-binding question for a new City Hall. The administration then went forward with their plan stating that there was a “mandate” by the people. And therein lies the problem. When you start with a lie and follow it with a hidden agenda, this is the result.

  5. You people who voted YES on the straw ballot question got scammed and hood-winked by the Mayor, Commission, and administration, but apparently you don’t even know what’s going on in City Hall because you don’t bother to watch meetings! The verbiage of the straw ballot question referred to the value of the property to potentially be used for badly needed improvements such as hook up with the County Sewer system for the areas still on septic tanks. The City Manager announced some months ago that there wouldn’t be any money for that. The deal that he had very slyly set up was set to sell the property for such a cheap price that there would be no money for the improvements that would benefit the residents. What a shame that we now have an electorate that accepts PROPAGANDA from the mayor and cronies instead of learning the actual facts for yourselves! Michael Miller writes about city hall and only a few people respond. The demographics have really changed here. We used to have a more informed and involved electorate. The lack of an informed and involved electorate facilitates corruption in government. The result is that you get what you deserve!

  6. Something is very wrong with our citizens in this city! Apparently there is no interest in the fate of the City Hall property! Fellow citizens, are you all in a coma? I voted NO on the straw ballot question to use the value of the property to *****, which really meant to SELL IT, people! How many of you even understood what you were voting for??? Supposedly, 72% voted yes, and now no one even gives a rat’s ass as to the highly suspect status of OUR City Hall property! Disgusting!

  7. How could the CRA come up with tne money to buy the old vehicle inspection station property from the city? For that matter, where will the money come from for the CRA to pay bsck the County for the Madison Sq. property? What line item in the CRA budget? That was one of the worst resolutions that the CRA has ever passed. They should have kept the CDBG terms and conditions and put the project out for a rebid. Board members were really manipulated and there will not be the affordable element that you are counting on. You have no guarantee whatsoever now that you have thrown out the CDBG terms and conditions! You may get another Red Road Commons. You should have listened to me, Velma, and Lee. Madison Square was very slyly turned into a bait and switch deal!
    The vehicle inspection property is very valuable. It is within the transit-oriented development District, just a stone’s throw away from the Metro Rail station,. According to the current zoning it can go up to 8 stories. There was a time when I suggested that affordable housing could be built in that location as a satellite building for Madison Square, so that there would not have to be so much density in Madison Square, since it is abutting single family residential. Mayor said no. He had other plans for that property.

  8. The ‘underselling’ price for the City Hall property is a travesty for the residents & other taxpayers of the city. The Sunshine law has been ignored completely. Why is a building being squished into an alley road between 58th * 59th Avenue when there are plenty of empty places to rent? Developer/builder payback?

  9. There are plenty of reasonable options for City Hall’s future and they ultimately point to remaining in it’s exact location, but going up to a 4-6 story structure with rental office space on the ground or top floor. I actually made a pitch to Commissioner Welsh last Election cycle on the CRA board to give up the notion of putting the Police station and City Hall where the city’s old inspection station was previously located, now vacant land. My idea was for the city to sell the Inspiration station’s vacation lot to the CRA to fulfill a much needed request for mixed use housing coupled with workforce housing. The site would be able to house an 6-8 story building being that it’s zoned for such and would be equipped with an bottom level full service grocery store. The trade off would then allow the City to rezone the current City Hall property to the liking of the Inspection Station’s height variances and zoning, which would be needed for an State of the art building to house both City Hall and the Police Station.

  10. As to the City Hall deal, there is much more to this than meets the eye. This is not a matter of a lack of will to move the deal forward. This is a matter of a very bad deal for the people of this city for various reasons. For starters, the property is worth much more then the established selling price.The city manager’s screed to devalue the property was absurd. The location of the property is fabulous for many reasons. The property is the perfect location for an iconic, stand-alone City Hall building. I find it very interesting that Homestead found the funding to build such a City Hall, while here in South Miami certain individuals have been hellbent on unloading our irreplaceable City Hall property at a fire sale price! You have ask why and investigate the history of the deal to know that something is very rotten.


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