Misinformation is a horrible thing, and it appeared in a letter published here last week ( Palmetto Bay ‘downtown’ plan a waster of money, Soapbox, March 9). As a member of Palmetto Bay’s Downtown Redevelopment Task Force, I’d like productive dialog though factual communication.
In May 2013, Village Manager Ron Williams formed an advisory committee to make recommendations on how to revitalize the Franjo Triangle business district, picking up where the 2004 charrette left off.
As task force leader, the village’s director of building and capital projects, Ed Silva, reached out to active residents and businesspeople for input. At present, around 45 people have donated thousands of hours and at least $300,000 worth of professional time to vision the best approach to re-inventing our downtown.
The goal is singular: to better the lives of Palmetto Bay residents. This comes in the form of enhanced services, job creation, economic development and potentially stabilizing the tax burden on homeowners.
No taxpayer dollars are spent without public knowledge and Village Council approval. The $2.8 million mentioned as budgeted is actually for area infrastructure and would be spent with or without a downtown project. The task force is looking at many funding sources and taxpayer dollars are always last on the list.
If one says the task force has operated in a vacuum, I point out each meeting is open to the public, progress is posted on the village website and Facebook page, and the task force has a traveling roadshow visiting schools, organizations and village events.
Also, task force members don’t have advance proprietary knowledge creating conflict of interest. The only thing we have is an interest in bettering the village. Life is about using knowledge, and anyone can do so with the click of a mouse on a public website.
Besides an ongoing online survey soliciting resident input, Palmetto Bay and the task force put on “A Downtown Experience” this past Friday. It gave residents a glimpse of what their downtown could look like. The cost to taxpayers was zero.
Numbers don’t lie. In 2013, Pinecrest had $28 million in new commercial construction. Cutler Bay had $17 million. Palmetto Bay had $2 million. There’s work to be done, and misinformation is keeping us from progress.
Hal Feldman, Palmetto Bay
Term limits would improve government
Re: Phil Rinaldi's letter criticizing Coral Gables’ city government ( UM health center will worsen traffic, Soapbox, March 9) ... Our elected officials and politicians don't need to listen to us. That's why they make decisions on their own. They only listen to those who have the means to change or alter their positions in office —money and power.
What we should be supporting are issues and policies that are reasoned and balanced for the good of all, and that take into account the will of the people. Just imagine how different things would be if they did this.
We are living in times where the technology exists to seek the input of the voters or residents in more local and national issues than what we are seeing. When has a politician or elected official contacted you seeking your position in a matter? Term limits are the way to change.
Franklyn Roman, Coral Gables