Business owners, residents and community leaders gathered Thursday, August 21 to witness the City of Homestead Mayor and Council officially break ground on Homestead’s new City Hall. Over a hundred were in attendance to celebrate the first of many sweeping changes that will revitalize the downtown historic district for future generations.
“Today is about taking that first, giant step towards building something that not only stands the test of time but that best represents the people in this community,” said Mayor Jeff Porter as he spoke before the crowd. “I am excited at the prospect of what is in store for this city and the construction of the new City Hall is the foundation for it all.”
This groundbreaking is a significant step toward the City’s commitment to revitalize the Downtown Homestead area. The plans for the contemporary City Hall on Washington Avenue ensures the new home for City business will be a community centerpiece. With Homestead’s growing population, the new 83,841 square-foot facility will house a 225-seat council chamber to better accommodate residents during public meetings. The structure features office space for City departments, a better operational flow in support of “open government,” and is designed to function as an emergency operations center.
The project is furnishing local employment opportunities with a number of local subcontractors procured for the construction that are providing over 80 jobs to Homestead residents. New employment and contractual opportunities are anticipated with each stage of construction. As part of the local employment outreach, a City of Homestead Construction Projects Job Fair was also held on Saturday, August 23rd at the Community Redevelopment Agency, 212 NW 1st Avenue, where local companies and individuals interested in daily construction labor opportunities met contractors and learned about their employment needs.
Groundbreaking participants included Homestead Mayor Jeff Porter, Vice-Mayor Stephen R. Shelley, Councilman Jon Burgess, Councilwoman Patricia Fairclough, Councilman Elvis R. Maldonado, Councilwoman Judy Waldman, Councilman Jimmie L. Williams, III, project architects Rodriguez and Quiroga Architects Chartered, and general contractor Munilla Construction Management (MCM), LLC also were present.
Also in attendance were Congressman Joe Garcia, State Representative Kionne McGhee, District 9 School Board Vice-Chair Dr. Lawrence Feldman, Col. Elwin A. Rozyskie-482nd Support Mission Group Commander, Major David Cortez-482nd Security Forces Operations Officer, Major Brooke Cortez-Chief of 482nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs, Florida City Mayor Otis Wallace, Florida City Vice-Mayor R.S. Shiver, Biscayne National Park Superintendent Brian Carlstrom, Everglades National Park Public Affairs Specialist Mary Plumb, Chris Himmel-Aide for State Representative Holly Raschein, Teresa Olczyk-MDC Extension and Staff, Maria Garza-Mexican-American Council, Kristina Ducanes-Pineapple Ladies of Homestead Hospital Foundation, Dr. Flora Van Orden-Coalition of Florida Farmworker Organizations, Charles LaPradd (DP&Z) - Miami-Dade County Agricultural Manager, Frank Balzebre - Mayor's Aide to Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Paul Chance, Public Involvement Officer of Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization. Former Homestead Mayor and councilmembers on hand included former mayors Nicholas Sincore, Roscoe Warren, Steve Shiver and Fred Rhodes and former council people Steven D. Losner, Ruth Campbell and Ron Dorris.
During construction, City Hall will continue to operate from its temporary location at Portofino Plaza and Council meetings will continue to be held at the William F. “Bill” Dickinson Community Center.