Opinion: We Need a Public Safety Campus Redo

Opinion: We Need a Public Safety Campus Redo

Nothing about moving forward with the city’s proposed Public Safety Campus feels right to me. This opinion is based on the fact, that after doing some research, it appears there are no answers in the public record to major questions about the project.

For starters, we do not know how much it is going to cost? Estimates range from $53 – $100 million. That is a wide range.

Maybe that wide range is because we do not know what will be housed on the Public Safety Campus?

Yes, home to police officers. But city staff has indicated it will house various neighborhood services and include community meeting spaces, an art center, and recreational activities, like basketball.

Also, we do not know how it will be paid for? I could not find any reporting on where the money will come from. Will taxes have to be increased? Will other priorities pay a price?

In a lot of communities a project with this kind of financial impact is approved by a voter referendum. For example, in 2018 at least three communities in Florida had voter referendums addressing the financing of public safety projects.

Why not here?

Now, one thing we do know about this mysterious project is where it will be located. But even this is a problem.

Does anyone remember publicly noticed community meetings or any serious debate about the proper location?

I didn’t think so. That’s because there were none.

So how was the location selected?

Back in February 2018, city staff reported that as “part of the City Commission’s 2018 public safety priority, staff was asked to explore potential construction alternatives for future public safety campus on the south side of town…. The desired area for the location of the public safety campus is, generally, identified as the South Monroe Street and Orange Avenue corridors.”

Next staff recommended “the initiation of an RFP for the acquisition of real estate for a public safety campus along the South Monroe Street and/or Orange Avenue corridors.”

There you have it – South Monroe Street and Orange Avenue.

There was no mention of input from community meetings or any consideration to locations not in the “target area.”

This process was ill-conceived at best, and incompetent at worst. And now that there are a fresh set of city commissioners taking a look, this process is being questioned.

And rightfully so.

Why didn’t the city commission evaluate more than one location and then present this information to the community for feedback?

This was the process followed when addressing the parking issue in midtown. City staff sought bids for different locations and then held community meetings ahead of a vote.

Why not use this approach for the Public Safety Campus?

There is no way the two meetings scheduled for this coming Monday and Tuesday will provide answers to all of the unknowns about the the Public Safety Campus.

The most these meetings will do is reveal how little is known. Hopefully, this revelation will convince at least three commissioners we need a redo.

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10 Responses to "Opinion: We Need a Public Safety Campus Redo"

  1. Brad   February 16, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    Follow the money.
    Who gets paid from this deal?
    And who is going to get the sweetheart deal on the 7th ave property when the city sells or swaps it for some cheap property. It’s always about the money in this town.
    And I bet Maddox and Burnette are Investor’s in this somewhere.

    Reply
  2. Patricia   February 16, 2019 at 7:31 pm

    I can’t believe this is even an issue. Crime is high in the area and property values are low. There is no affordable housing in the city, except for the high crime areas. There is an exception in a few areas around Indianhead and Blairstone, where we struggle to maintain our neighborhoods. These are great locations near downtown and Southwood state offices. Keeping these areas safe and desirable helps not only the southside community, but energy and time savings, as the commute in minutes.

    Reply
  3. Hope   February 16, 2019 at 8:34 pm

    Why is Curtis Richardson so pro on this ill-thought-out project?

    Why won’t Curtis reveal the contents of the “text” message?

    Who stands to profit by this transaction?

    I would think the smart thing would be to hire Consultants to provide expertise and input for a project such as this; then present it to the public.

    Then when and if an appropriate plan surfaces citizens vote on it.

    Reply
  4. Sarah   February 16, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    I could have sworn that the $50 Million PSC on weems was suppose to host all first responders as for better communication between the different agencies. Have to go back and look at the videos when they were debating this project.

    Reply
  5. tallypally   February 16, 2019 at 9:24 pm

    we do need a new police station, just on existing city-owned property, or otherwise purchasable vacant land

    Reply
  6. Vernon   February 17, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    Yes, a new police station is probably needed, but the local liberals should NOT turn this into a social engineering project that costs 60, 70, $80,000,000 or maybe even more! A little common sense here would be prudent…if we dare to expect that!

    An inventory of all land and unused property owned by the city should be taken before any specific location is determined, along with projections of increases to property tax rates or other service fees that would impact taxpayers for each proposed location.

    Money spent on necessary public safety should not be co-mingled with discretionary projects like meeting places, recreational facilities, and art centers, and should be brought before the commission and voted on their own merits after funding sources are identified.

    I’m still holding out…that our 3 new commissioners will prove themslves on this first big test of what kind of stewards they’ll be of the money from Tallahassee’s taxpayers.

    Reply
  7. Robbing Hood   February 17, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    “…neighborhood services and include community meeting spaces, an art center, and recreational activities, like basketball…”

    Uh, the city already has quite a few “Rec Centers” on the south side of town that for all intents and purposes are “hangouts” during the day, and free after-school baby-sitting/place to hang out, until mom or somebody gets off of work to pick them up. They open at 9am, close 9pm and offer all of the above.

    https://www.talgov.com/parks/parks-cc.aspx

    Here’s just one example close by: https://www.talgov.com/parks/centers-walker.aspx

    Is I Need a Favor still running this show?

    Reply
  8. News Maven   February 18, 2019 at 9:06 am

    Another waste of taxpayer’s money. Did we just elect a new crew of tax-and-spenders (Lindleyites)?
    Hope not.
    If the cops need a new building, I say look at the assets the city already owns before creating a reason for jacking up property taxes yet again.
    And If Curtis wants this so bad, let him cough up $60M himself.
    Tired of having commissars who think they have a right to put their hands in my pocket to enrich their developer donors.

    Reply
    • Hope   February 18, 2019 at 9:37 am

      You are right about Lindley … I was watching the County Commission meeting when they were contemplating the Children’s Services Council and thankfully Lindley said this wasn’t the right time, but she out of the top of her head pulls out I’ll give them $500,000!

      No Rhyme or Reason to where the money would come from what would be done with it just I’ll give you $500,000 for whatever!

      I believe my jaw dropped open and just stood there stunned like what in the world goes through this lady’s mind?

      Reply
    • Hope   February 18, 2019 at 9:42 am

      Probably the best way for Curtis Richardson to help the South Side would be for him to move to the North Side.

      I have not seen where he has moved that area forward it only seems to be regressing.

      Reply

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