Residents Angered by Commission Vote on $8.1 Parking Garage

Coral-Springs-Parking-Garage1

By: Sharon Aron Baron

There has been nothing that has angered residents of Coral Springs more lately than four out of five of their elected officials voting to move forward on a $8.1 million parking garage.  This is on top of a a brand new City Hall which technically needed only 250 parking spaces to house City Staff.

parking-22Besides being the most cost effective, Mayor Skip Campbell believed a surface parking lot, at $2 million would have been sufficient for City Staff, and would have been utilized for other events when they were gone on weeknights and weekends. However, it would have used space designed for potential retail space around it. 

The option most of the commission chose was a four-floor, 600-spot garage costing $8.1 million, with the city’s share being $4.5 million. This would be a Tri-party agreement, meaning the city would take the lead in drafting the agreement and borrow the $8.1, then the CRA and Amera Corp. would enter into an agreement, and upon completion of the garage, Amera as the Master Developer could assist the CRA to defray the cost of the additional 250 spaces.

“Parking garage. Waste of  money.” Said former commission candidate Howard Melamed.  “In a town that wants to go green, we should be encouraging and helping to developed walking paths and cycling.  However when you have three out of five commissioners beholden to their largest sponsor, what do you expect? The downtown Coral Springs developer has no agreement with the City. Now we are building him a parking garage?   He needs to build it himself.

parking222On April 1, four City Commissioners voted to move forward on what was the most expensive option on the table after Vice Mayor Larry Vignola tabled the item in order to get more feedback from the residents. 

However, it didn’t change the commissioners minds about going forward with the garage.

Commissioner Lou Cimaglia immediately voted to move the project forward.

Commissioner Joy Carter who emailed 397 residents said that 53 of her respondents told her do it,  so she said she went with the majority.

Commissioner Dan Daley sent out on email blasts to 1,600 people and he was surprised that the vast majority were positive that they wanted a larger parking garage.  “If there’s too few parking spaces we have a problem.”

But how will resident know exactly what respondents did say to Dan Daley and Joy Carter if they were asking mostly friends and supporters of their campaign what to do.  Secondly, since both used personal email addresses to conduct their poll and not their City email addresses, making a public records request would be extremely difficult. 

Vice Mayor Vignola, who asked for the motion to wait on the vote, but never specified who exactly he asked to gather more research during the time it was tabled said, “I’ve never developed a downtown, no one here has. With the Frozen event that we did in December, the parking was atrocious.  I know families that came and didn’t get to go because there wasn’t enough parking.  If we’re going to do this, we need to do this right.” 

Mayor Skip Campbell seemed surprised that everyone received the go ahead to spend so much from their constituents. “I have received just the opposite in community participation in this concept,” he said.  “I’ve already said that it’s financially irresponsible based on the way we are financing it but that’s what democracy is all about and we’re going to have a vote here and hopefully it’s a vote based on your conscience.”  Looking at Joy Carter Campbell said, “And I believe statistically 53 is not a valid number, and statistically we should have put this in front of the voters. We should have asked the people.  Are you willing to pay for it and that would have been done with the general obligation bonds.”

The vote was four to one in favor of the parking garage.  Campbell was the one voting no.

The city plans to borrow the money in bonds this fall.

About Sharon Aron Baron

Sharon Aron Baron Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and writer for Coral Springs Talk. CST was created in 2012 to provide News, Views and Entertainment for the residents of Coral Springs, Parkland and the rest of South Florida.

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  • Concerned Voter

    this is the city hall that staff would like that has the workout room right? Didn’t staff also want this parking garage? Doesn’t staff also want this whole retail center? I mean wouldn’t you….these workers are pushing this stuff because they want to work in a multi-million dollar complex, wouldn’t you? People listen, this is just a city hall. It may have a couple nice events a year but this isn’t Las Olas.

  • Barb

    Geez guys…did you listen to the presentation or is this just a gut reaction all the time. First of all who gives a rats behind what Howard Mohalamed thinks…. rather skewed article for facts as well as a bunch he provided during his campaign. The original model was for 350 something space parking garage which would take care of city hall parking as well as visitors to city hall. The mayor wanted that tabled and wanted ground parking to save 1 million aprox. because if you did away with garage you still had to do all the prep and house the equipment for the city hall that had been planned to be in the original plan for the garage. Typical polititian, skew the actual facts and make it sound like you are saving so much by getting rid of garage, when it is not what it sounds like. The Mayor asked them to look into a public/private partnership. I dont know did he think someone was going to pay for a parking garage for us with nothing for them. He got exactly what he asked the staff to do, a company willing to cover the cost of part of the garage provided it was bigger to cover for future parking for projects in the works to complete the downtown vision. Its a partnership between the developer and the CRA who will be responsible for the additional money because after all the parking will be for the property being developed. Technically the city hall only needs 250 parking spaces is just that technically, except where is anyone going to park that is going into City Hall, a block and a half away and gee how many parking garages do we want in our City? We have a parking code for any new development and it does not just include employees when it figures parking and that is for a reason, it includes how many customers (citizens) who typically visit the location on a daily basis.
    Isn’t it a better solution to deal with the parking up front rather than have a parking garage for each new development.

  • Disappointed

    Who is up for reelection in 2016 that’s all I want to know.

  • Tj

    What a waste of our money. It only serves the interest of Amera… Not the citizens is Coral Springs.

    Also Barb… Could you please spell Howard’s name correctly. How would you like it if we spelled your names George R.

    • Barb

      The part the citizens are paying for serves us…the part Amera will pay for serves them. And will provide additional parking for the whole area. How do you spell Howard? I’m confused there have been so many editorials, letters etc., on the spelling, a complaint to the city because closed captioning got it wrong. Can’t expect me to remember when all he does is make it an issue, gets confusing.. I don’t really care if someone spells my name wrong.

      • Howard Melamed

        Just when you thing people actually understand….along come your comments. Not sure if you are anti-semitic or anti-Muslim or just an asshole with that likes to hide behind a pseudo name and talk a lot of garbage. Yes, some of your best friends are……..If you really don’t care about your name …then let’s spell it for you… B I G O T . Which means ” a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions ” .

        • Barb

          No not really, intolerant of people who skew the truth to push agenda’s and get elected. Intolerant of people who use a mistake such as the closed captioning thing to get attention and name reconition to get elected. My opinion. I sort of think the whole thing was anti-muslim on your part.

          • Howard Melamed

            You did not read the story which indicated specifically the need to get the name right not to insult anyone. You, on the other hand, intentionally spelled my name wrong to insult both communities. You think it to be funny, and you are not even owning up to your original remarks. I accept your apology.

          • Barb

            I didn’t apologize. I didn’t think the original spelling was an insult to anybody, you obviously did and make a major production out of it going to the press etc., I thought the whole thing was a political stunt, again my opinion, a misspelled name is not an insult to any community, it is simply a misspelled name. So yeah I think its funny, your take on the whole thing. Because seriously it was a closed captioning error.

  • I should have RAN!!!!

    Waste of money, someone should sue this Commission Board for misleading the citizens of Coral Springs when they were running for seats. They don’t have the citizens best interest at heart only the limelight that they think they will get from it.

    • Barb

      What limelight?

  • tj

    If I am correct Amera owns the land on the SW corners of Sample and University. This area currently has surface parking. If the new garage is built, how many of these surface parking spaces will be eliminated? Are they (Amera and their partners) planning to build over these parking spaces with retail /office buildings?

    • Tj

      Any answers on the above question? Need to know to make an “informed” decision

  • The entire cities leadership should be brutally executed for their transgressions against the people of Coral Springs.

    If you the citizens do not take swift action the leaders of your city will continue to eat away at your true freedoms and power.

    • roho42

      Todd, if it’s true that the majority of the responses they received supported this project, then how exactly are they eating away at the freedoms? If they are representing the desires of their constituents then the system is truly working unlike at the federal level. And everyone who is upset is responding to the misleading headlines in these articles. I don’t have a horse in this race nor is it my tax dollars but I don’t know who to believe in this one. But it does seem that the articles against are being at least as misleading as the politicians and that’s saying quite a bit.

      • Howard Melamed

        Because they are bullshitting you. It is easy for all of them to speak about phone calls, or emails or polls, yet they never show you the DATA! Are you that gullible? At least when you stand for something it is you yourself standing for it , and you don’t claim to represent anyone else…..

        • Barb

          Why because they don’t agree with you….gee does that make you a bigot

          • Howard Melamed

            No. They are politicians. your the bigot.

      • Tj

        I sent out my survey to my CS contacts…and their response was not to support the project. We all know that numbers don’t lie!

        • Howard Melamed

          I don’t support the parking garage either, but in order to do a real survey you need to make it impartial and professional. That does not mean as a concerned citizen you cannot do your own survey and base your opinion on it. However if you are a City Commissioner, and you spit out statistics that you never back up with data, that is BS’ing the public. Remember as citizen we can request the data from them, ( like all emails sent to DD about the paring garage) and hold their feet to the fire.

          • Tj

            Agree. Need a “proper” sampling group and survey method. Good luck with transparency. Oops the emails have been deleted … Possible response?

          • Barb

            They did not say they did a survey, they said they privatly asked people on their contact lists to get general feelings. Once again Howard taking things out of perspective.

  • Howard Melamed

    So here we go. The $4 million dollar parking garage that we don’t need will now cost the city $8 M. Good news, the developer , who has no agreement with the city , that should have built the entire garage will no pay less than half. Dan Daley, and Larry Vignola all said that this CITY HALL was going to cost no more than $28 Million. So maybe the $20 Million dollar city hall will cost $40 million and the developer with no contract will put in $10M and get to use it as well.

    Now you have 4 out of 5 obviously being influenced by the developer with the ONLY person that has any common sense being Mayor Campbell, telling everyone “ARE YOU CRAZY?” . Obviously they are. Now we have a gang of 4, again.

    • Barb

      According to Howard….lol Doesn’t even matter what the facts are you just say it anyway. I think they were all very kind to not sit there and laugh at the Mayor when he says some of the things he says. They don’t agree with you Howard, that does not make them a gang, does it make you bigoted? The fact that you are intolerant of their ideas?

    • springme

      I concur with your opinion, it looks like there is indeed a new gang of four. It’s sad, because during the election campaign, you, Mayor Campbell and Commissioner Carter were closely aligned and shared many of the same views on the future of the City.

      Commissioner Carter abandoned those that voted for her when she switched positions based on only 54 emails. For all we know, the 54 emails, if they exist at all, were from city employees on her city hall mailing list.

      With my vote, I helped her fulfill her campaign slogan of bringing JOY to Coral Springs. I think she betrayed those that voted for her. It looks like bringing JOY to Coral Springs actually means “Jokes On You” Coral Springs.

      Yeah, looks like we have new gang of four.

      • Barb

        And if Howard had won would it have been a gang of three?

        • Francis Farnum

          All this talk and so far we probably have squandered away the ten million that was borrowed on a credit card just because tom powers and the people on the commission whom he controlled and were his yes men and i mean MEN needed to show voters that the then gang of four were the people who were moving Coral Springs forward a move that back fired. So far one million to AMERA. and COUNTING. This is the would be developer that the city cannot get to do some landscaping at his property but we are thinking of giving him the key to the vault. and hoping that he keeps him part of the deal.

          By the way I love these blogs where people are so adamant about their views and positions that they hide behind pseudo name. How could anyone take you seriously.
          Truly Amazing maybe it is time you came out of the closet. It is 2015.

          Francis Farnum

          • Barb

            I am not hiding behind anything, I choose to post as Barb, which in 2015 I think is still allowable and won’t be bullied into changing how I post. Don’t take me seriously I don’t really care. I have just become increasingly discouraged how the press etc., continuously misrepresent facts and everyone jumps all over the wrong information.

          • springme

            Keep us updated on the arrest of coral springs police officer Stephen Degerdon for domestic abuse. The Press writes that according to Tamarac Sheriff Deputies they arrested him for domestic abuse after he allegedly punched a hole in a wall of his house, deflated his wife’s car tires with a tire iron and forcibly removed her from a vehicle. I’m wondering, how does someone deflate car tires with a tire iron? The Press didn’t explain that in detail. Did he use a tire iron to punch holes in the tires? Did the Press and the Tamarac Sheriff Deputies get it all wrong? Give us the facts Barb.

            We don’t want the Press to misrepresent the facts, so we all know that, unlike the Press, you with your inside connection to city hall, can give everyone the correct information. So, find out, was he previously convicted in broward county court for assaulting a coral springs prisoner that was in his custody? Why is he even employed by the city manager’s police force if he was convicted of assaulting or abusing a prisoner? Is the Press getting it wrong or is our city manager getting it wrong?

            What’s going to happen when the arrested officers wife (also a police officer?) refuses to testify against him? Will our city manager and the gang of four keep him on again as a police officer, interacting daily with the citizens when he pulls them over and gives out traffic tickets? Look what happened in North Charleston South Carolina when they kept an officer on patrol after he was accused of abusing a suspect. Did the Press get it wrong in South Carolina?

            Nationwide, in the past month, three officers have been charged with criminal homicide, but they were charged only after video recordings surfaced contradicting their one sided police reports. Should everyone in the city be video taping interactions with the coral springs police? Many Press reports are stressing the importance of recording police encounters. Is the Press getting it wrong?

          • Barb

            Apples and oranges to what I was talking about it so I have to assume you must be a democrat, when the facts don’t fit your story change the story, sorry not playing.

  • Fred

    Protected bike lanes, staggered stop lines at intersections, additional sidewalks/multi-use paths, actual traffic enforcement, and sane speed limits would certainly be preferable. Perhaps if walking and cycling were less dangerous and stressful in this town we wouldn’t need so many parking spaces.

  • mjdart

    I haven’t followed this closely, but I would hope the primary reason for this garage is evening hours & weekends to revitalize the city and grow the downtown area. I’ve been a homeowner in Coral Springs since ’86, and I would really like an alternative to traveling to another city for night time and weekend entertainment. Coral Springs, model yourself entertainment wise after Delray Beach and Boca Raton and make use of the parking garage, you’ll probably need to build another one if you do it right.

    • Fred

      It would be wonderful, but it’s hard to see how it will succeed when the speed limit is so high on University and Sample. Crossing either of those streets, highways really, as a pedestrian is dangerous enough in the daytime. I’d love the alternative as well but not without some drastic traffic management.

  • Femi Ade

    Mayor Campbell I feel your pain here as the only one that is against this. You will be exonerated for this waste of money on the part of the city and making the residents responsible for what I am sure the resident was not given the full true story about the city activities. Sometimes I think we are under the dictatorship of the present council because nothing is done to improve the residents lives in the city but to load us with more unreasonable debts. The environments, crimes and communities of the city is NOT of concerned any of them. All these activities has to be critically looked into during the next election of the city. The right candidate that has the interest of the residents has to be voted for.

  • jhkilroy

    So ‘ Skip ‘ and Joy Carter campaign to reduce cost and pull a fast one and SPEND – hahahaha werent these the same people grilling Lorette ? typical democrats – say ANYTHING to get elected why arent you calling for an impeachment ?