The decision comes after an emotional meeting on Tuesday, June 24, when family members and residents of the township filled the commission rooms of those killed in the collapse of Champlain Towers South. The Miami Herald reported. They had to set up an overflow chamber to accommodate the crowd.
After nearly an hour of public comment, commissioners told the victims’ families that they would not consider Surfside’s proposal to demolish the community center and build a new one along with a memorial on the site of the collapse. They also said that they would not put such a land swap before the voters in the referendum.
“My heart breaks for you because I know this raises your hopes,” said Mayor Charles Burkett, who is the only supporter of the proposal. “I hope you don’t give up hope.”
Commissioners Salzhauer and Nelly Velasquez urged opponents of this idea to raise their voices.
“This is the moment when we come together as a community to defend our community center and all property belonging to the town,” Velasquez wrote on social media. Salzhauer also wrote that the town “will not allow this tragedy to be exploited for profit and destroyed or become Surfside’s invaluable community center and quality of life for our residents.”
Negotiations were occasionally interrupted by upset family members, the newspaper reported. A man said, “People vote!” yell. “You’ve disappointed us,” one woman said, urging Salzhauer about her recent comments.
The board agreed to explore ways to build a sacrifice monument, either on a strip of land where part of the tower had fallen, or elsewhere.
Currently, a $120 million bid for the Champlain Towers South property is on the table. NS swap plan He could have instead allowed the buyer to build a tower on the site of Surfside’s 10-year-old community center with an oceanfront pool, waterslide, and multi-purpose rooms. A new center will be built in the disaster area along with a monument.
Miami-Dade Judge Michael Hanzman, who oversaw the class action lawsuit over the collapse, had opted for barter as a way of compensating the victims through a property sale while having a memorial built.
“It shouldn’t be their decision, it should be the residents’ decision,” said David Rodan, whose brother and three cousins died in the collapse. “They’re scared because they know residents want to do the right thing, they want to look at history and see a monument where it should be instead of a building.”
Rodan told the Herald that he and his group will continue to push for the referendum.
“The community wants to see a monument there, and the community is willing to move the community center five blocks if a land swap is the only option,” Rodan said. Said.
However, some residents who oppose the land swap told commissioners they support a memorial site, but not at the expense of the community centre.
Surfside resident Paul O’Malley said: “I’m for a memorial. I think it’s only right for the victims and their families. I’m not for a land swap.” NBC6.
Raquel Oliveira, whose husband and 5-year-old son died in the collapse, asked the commissioners to help the families find a way to build a monument.
“Maybe swapping isn’t the best option, or maybe it is,” he said. “What I’m asking is that we have some time to make the right decision.”