Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Madeira Beach debates size, scope of city hall projects

MADEIRA BEACH — Despite a continuing split among residents, the City Commission is poised to move decisively ahead in building a new city hall, fire station and possibly a new recreation complex.

A clear majority of residents who packed a town hall meeting on Tuesday agreed that the present city hall, erected in the 1950s, badly needs replacing.

But there remained clear disagreement over the size and design elements of the new building — particularly when the city has many other infrastructure projects in its planning cue while it considers spending a projected $5 million to $9 million to replace aging government facilities.

"I would like to see this put up for referendum," resident Peter Pisciotta said, while asking the city to do more due diligence in reviewing all options before spending millions on a new city hall complex.

There appeared to be little interest in the audience or on the commission for holding a referendum.

Commissioner Terry Lister insisted that after the commission "did its homework" it was determined that repairing the old city hall and fire station would be prohibitively expensive.

Mayor Travis Palladeno said the commission will decide the scope of the project at its April 9 meeting, when commissioners also expected to hire a bond counsel and sign a new contract with the architect and building contractor.

The project is divided into two phases — one the city hall and fire station complex, and the other the recreation complex. The phases could run simultaneously or separately over time.

Although the total bill would be higher doing the entire project at once, contractor Mark Stalker told commissioners they would save significantly by building at today's prices.

Many residents supported building both phases at once.

"Build the city hall, fix the ball field, make a nice recreation center," said Robin Stack. "Act like commissioners. Do your job and make a decision."

"We need a city hall for everybody. Let's just get it done and stop the talk," echoed Diane Ray.

"I encourage you to think about all our children who want to play and be a part of our community," said Dan Griffin, vice president of Madeira Beach Little League.

"Should we put money into recreation fields for the kids? Damned straight we should," former Commissioner Steve Kochick said to loud applause. Some residents, however, were strongly against spending the additional $4 million for a new recreation complex.

"While a new city hall and fire hall is in order, I am against any redoing of the recreation fields," said Debbie Weinstein.

Former Mayor Marv Merrill described the recreation phase as an unneeded "luxury" and called the conceptual city hall plans an unnecessary Taj Mahal.

City Manager Shane Crawford said the new city hall would occupy less square footage than the present one. "We are trying to make do with the least amount of building as possible."

Jeff Larson, the city's financial consultant, explained that the city has reserve funds to help pay for a new city hall, as well as nonproperty tax revenue streams that can pay off a bank loan or bond.

"The city is in very good financial condition and no debt," he said. "That tells you your elected officials and staff have been good stewards of your money."

The city is considering pledging $300,000 in annual revenue to guarantee and pay for a long term bond.

Other revenue will still be available to cover yet unknown costs of street repaving, stormwater upgrades, marina expansion, upgrades to Archibald Park and burying utilities along Gulf Boulevard.

"There is no plan to do this project (city hall) in place of other projects," city finance director Vince Tenaglia added.

For the project designers, the meeting was a step forward.

"We are very excited to stop kicking the can down the road and start moving forward again," said Lisa Wannemacher of Wannemacher Jensen Architects.

Madeira Beach debates size, scope of city hall projects 03/30/13 [Last modified: Saturday, March 30, 2013 8:40am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Editorial: DOT listens, adjusts on I-275 plans in Tampa

    Editorials

    Florida continues to improve its plan for modernizing the interstate system in Tampa Bay. The Florida Department of Transportation has unveiled four new options for rebuilding I-275 near downtown Tampa, and some of them would ditch previous plans for toll lanes downtown while keeping express lanes for faster, …

    State officials are re-evaluating parts of I-4 and I-275 in Tampa as part of a supplemental environmental impact study, or SEIS. 
  2. College basketball scandal dips into Tampa Bay

    Preps

    Tuesday's national college basketball scandal has recruiting ties to Tampa Bay.

    In this March 15, 2012, file photo, San Diego State assistant coach Tony Bland, left, talks during NCAA college basketball practice in Columbus, Ohio. Bland was identified in court papers, and is among 10 people facing federal charges in Manhattan federal court, Tuesday in a wide probe of fraud and corruption in the NCAA, authorities said. [AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File]
  3. Datz to open in St. Petersburg, join the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art

    Food & Dining

    Now Datz news.

    Get it? Tuesday, Datz, the longtime line-out-the-door, oft-Instagrammed and -Yelped Tampa stalwart known for shock-and-awe sandwiches and oh-so-much bacon, announced it is coming to St. Petersburg.

    Lunch guest eat at Datz Deli at 2616 South MacDill Ave. in Tampa. Times files.
  4. Republican leader McConnell pulls the plug on latest Obamacare repeal effort

    WASHINGTON --- Sen. Mitch McConnell on Tuesday officially pulled the plug on the latest plan to repeal the health care law, telling senators they will not vote on the measure and effectively admitting defeat in the last-gasp drive to fulfill a core promise of President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. listens during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, after the Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos as education secretary. DeVos was approved by the narrowest of margins, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie in a historic vote. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) DCSA119
  5. Lightning's Brayden Point could be perfect fit alongside Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov

    Lightning Strikes

    SUNRISE — Brayden Point ended last season as the Lightning's No. 1 center, thrust into the role as a rookie due to injuries.

    Lightning center Brayden Point (21) advances the puck through the neutral zone during Friday's preseason game against the Nashville Predators. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]