By: Dave Hulett
In the headline of her article in the Sunday October 26, Sun-Sentinel, reporter Lisa Huriash writes “Downtown Gaining Traction”. She forgot to mention that this is not the plan of the average Coral Springs citizen. It is being promoted by the developers who are asking the citizens of Coral Springs to anchor the project with $28 million of taxpayer dollars, $6 million for a parking garage and $22 million for a building of which only 7 percent is actually going to be used by the city, according to an ad sent out by Mayoral candidate Tom Powers.
Coral Springs citizens are much more concerned about the value of their homes, which according to the city’s 2015 Business Plan, had the least amount of increase in value of the cities listed.
Taxpayers will be stuck trying to rent out the 93 percent of the building not being used by the city, along with the maintenance costs for both the building and parking garage. The biggest blow is to the citizens of Coral Springs who are not being allowed to vote to approve a General Obligation bond for this “Taj Mahal”. If the proposed “Downtown” project is as fabulous as the developers and candidate Powers claim, then why shouldn’t the developers who are going to profit from it, pay for it?
Using public money for this project is no different than using it to build sports stadiums for privately owned teams. This project is being driven by millionaire developer George Rahael and his associates who have contributed over $6,000 to Commissioner Powers campaign for mayor.
At the last city commission meeting, at the request of Mayor Boccard, Mr. Rahael was allowed to make a detailed presentation of his plan during the “Recognitions and Awards” section of the meeting. This relieved him from the 3-minute restriction normally placed on speakers during the “Citizens Request” portion of the meeting, a highly unusual opportunity to say the least. No such opportunity was afforded to anyone with an opposing viewpoint.
The bottom line is to just follow the money! Voters should take a look to see who is really going to benefit from this project. Coral Springs voters should elect candidates for the city commission who will take a fresh look at the $28 million dollar expenditure for this parking garage and building. Perhaps they might even be inclined to consider allowing the citizens of Coral Springs to vote for it! If this project is as advantageous to the citizens of Coral Springs as claimed by Mr. Rahael, then certainly such a vote should pass easily.
I believe the candidates who would take a fresh look are: Skip Campbell for Mayor, Howard Melamed for Seat 4 and Joy Carter for Seat 5.
Coral Springs Talk welcomes editorials offering different points of views.