Latest News from City Hall

At the First Meeting of the New City Commission in May, Commissioners:

Offered congratulations to Firefighter Louie Fajardo, who belatedly received the March 2020 “Firefighter of the Month Award” – for inventing and building an ultraviolet device to sterilize the masks of firefighters. 

Voted 5 – 0 to sell the city’s parking lot across from Havana Harry’s on Le Jeune for $3.5 million to a developer who will build a low-rise, private parking garage there. The sale was made on the condition that the new garage offer 34 spaces to the public (the number there now) and that it will have electric car charging stations. 

Voted 5 – 0 to extend the ability of restaurants to create outdoor seating and signage as a way to expand their business opportunities for Covid recovery, through January 2022. (Sponsored by Mayor Lago) 

Voted 5 – 0 to allow residents of Cocoplum to vote on whether to tax themselves to double the number of streetlights in their neighborhood. (Sponsored by Mayor Lago) 

Voted 5 – 0 to expand the defensive tactics training for Coral Gables police, so that officers have the training to take down suspects “without injuring themselves or those they are trying to apprehend,” said Commissioner Jorge Fors. Added Police Chief Ed Hudak: “This is a skill set that has to be practiced” so that officers do not escalate to deadly force. (Sponsored by Commissioner Fors) 

Voted 5 – 0 to create “youth zones” in neighborhoods where there are a lot of kids playing, with signage similar to school areas. (Sponsored by Commissioner Fors) 

Listened again to objections about the Wawa project across from GW Carver Elementary School and explained again to parents that the city could no longer stop it from being built. While Mayor Lago agreed that a gas station/food store was not the best option, it was within the rights of the landowners – the local community association – to lease the land for income to their community center. Dr. Julie Kanter, who is part of a group of parents currently suing the city to stop the project, suggested the city at least bring the developers to the table to mitigate the design – like putting the entrance to the gas station on U.S. 1, and not across from the elementary school. To be continued…