River Cities

Council gets earful over pool plans

Residents stormed into Miami Springs City Hall on Monday to question leaders two weeks after they approved construction of a $5 million pool.

On Aug. 25, the City Council unanimously approved a new 6,000-square-foot pool facility that features four lap-swimming lanes, a giant slide and a one-story administrative office building.

“You are turning your backs on us,” said former Councilwoman Helen Gannon. “South Miami built a pool for $1.4 million.”

The lengthy open forum session at the Sept. 8 meeting drew about a dozen speakers and lasted more than 90 minutes.

“Indebtedness doesn’t seem to bother this council,” said Nery Owens, who has lived in Miami Springs for more than 50 years. “By adding $5.6 million for a new pool, I would like to know how much that will translate per household into debt expense.”

After a three-hour marathon meeting, council members fired back.

“I wish they would have done this a few months ago,” said Councilman Jaime Petralanda. “Seems like right when we are going to do something, people show up.”

One reason the council chamber was filled to capacity were posts made on a website, miamisprings.com, where it was asserted that the city aimed to replace the current 9,000-square-foot pool with a smaller pool that would “kill competitive swimming” in the city for the next 50 years.

That’s not true, said Mayor Zavier Garcia.

“They are up here on pure emotion going on what I consider to be a lie,” Garcia said. “Our small pool will accommodate more than twice the number of people as our large pool.”

“The National Enquirer slash miamisprings.com has fed you a load of lies,” said Garcia.