On Wednesday, January 21st, the Miami Springs City Council selected Lunacon Construction as the Contractor to move forward and build the new Miami Springs Pool. The Lunacon pool was approved in a special meeting without Open Forum or resident feedback.
Lunacon clearly gave the better presentation and was chosen unanimously, but not before a contentious finish to the process.
Both George Lob and Jaime Petralanda wanted to get some additional answers before the next Council Meeting on Monday. Specifically, they wanted to get quotes from both West and Lunacon on the cost of going to an 8 lane pool. Jaime Petralanda wanted to give the companies an opportunity to come up with a price for an 8 lane pool that would support competitive swimming.
However, Billy Bain and Zavier Garcia both chimed in declaring there was no way the companies could come under $5 million with 8 lanes before even giving the 2 companies an opportunity to respond. They based their response on the feedback from Bermello and Associates. Bain made a motion to approve give Lunacon the pool contract and the motion passed unanimously.
Lunacon clearly had the best presentation this evening. But that shouldn`t have stopped the vote from occurring Monday night. The City had absolutely nothing to lose by getting price quotes for 8 lanes from Lunacon and West Construction. It would cost the city nothing and the city could make the decision easily at Monday night`s council meeting. Further, the city excluded public comment at the special meeting and did not give the opportunity to allow residents to provide feedback to the elected officials.
Here are the good things I see about Lunacon`s pool design:
– It provided 6 lanes for swimming compared to the original 4 and included starting blocks
– The Concession Stand is moved to the front of the building, near the parking lot allowing people from the Community Center access to the concessions.
– It moves the pool slide area near the beach entry, centralizing the play area for kids
– It also moved the pool building to the north side to provide noise buffering from residents on Swan Avenue.
At the end of the discussion, Mayor Garcia claimed that if we could afford 8 lanes, 10 lanes, he would do it, but no discussion was made about reducing the cost, the size, or even completely eliminating the $1 million multi-use building some call the “Party Room”. Yes. According to Lunacon`s documents, the Multi-Use building will cost $1 million.
I have been adamant about this from the get go. The city does not need a party room. It needs a covered terrace for parties.
Take Woodys West End Tavern for example. Most people prefer to eat outside at Woodys. They enjoy being in the open air, but under a roof to stay covered from the elements. No one can explain to me how someone who rents the pool for a party is going to want to go into the pool, get wet, and then go into an air conditioned building. However, a covered terrace party area would be far more friendly to your typical pool party.
For those that claim, the City will make more money from the Party Room than the covered terrace, I ask, where`s the business plan? There`s still no business plan.
I`d like to congratulate Lunacon. They gave a great presentation based on what was asked of them.
It`s unfortunate our Council would not budge on the $1 million multi-use building, which by the way is $400,000 more than what was advertised by Bermello. The Council had an opportunity to make changes or raise questions on why the multi-use building is $400,000 more than Bermello`s initial estimates. But they didn`t ask a single question about the multi-use building costs.
While I have no hope the current Miami Springs Council will make any changes to the $1 million multi-use party room, I still have hope this council can ask Lunacon to add the 2 additional lanes to support swim meets at the Miami Springs Aquatic Center.