For more than 80 years, a log cabin has held its ground as the administrative offices of the village of Biscayne Park. Now, thanks to $1 million in state money, the cabin will receive long-awaited renovations needed to keep it standing.
Commissioner Roxanna Ross began the effort to seek state money nearly five years ago.
“When I decided to run for office, one goal in my platform was to be a good steward of village assets, particularly the log cabin. In 2010 our former village manager, Ana Garcia, and I traveled to Tallahassee to explore the possibilities of state funding. A majority of our commission formalized this priority every year through resolution and hard budgeting,” Ross said.
When new Village Manager Heidi Shafran and Mayor David Coviello came on board, they “added their talents and influence to help achieve the necessary funding,” Ross added.
Gov. Rick Scott approved the appropriation as part of a $77 billion budget signed on June 2.
“We worked very hard on behalf of the village to secure this funding. I am overjoyed that we will now have the opportunity to restore the log cabin to its original use as a community gathering place and commission chambers, and construct a new annex building for our Village Hall services,” Coviello said.
With the money assured, the commission only has to wait for historic preservation architect RJ Heisenbottle to complete a historic building assessment by July. This assessment will be the roadmap for the renovation of the log cabin.
Additionally, the city will build a 3,000-square-foot annex near the log cabin, the exact location however has yet to be selected. The annex will be used to house administrative offices and to provide most of the services now handled in the log cabin. The log cabin will be used by the community and for commission and board meetings.
“The funding of this project not only demonstrates a commitment to the preservation of the state’s historic resources, but also serves as recognition that small-town communities such as Biscayne Park are worth protecting and investing in,” Coviello said.
The mayor also expressed his belief that residents will stand together behind this project after the divisiveness caused by the recent vote to outsource sanitation services. On May 21, the commission voted to enter into a franchise agreement with Waste Pro of Florida. The company’s services are scheduled to begin by October of this year. Although the assessment fee will be reduced from $572 to $467, many residents were against the change, saying they like the service they received from longtime village sanitation workers.
“It is my sincere hope that this important project, which will no doubt have a positive, lasting impact on the village for many years, will bring our residents together once again,” Coviello said.