Thursday, July 14, 2011

A short history of the efforts resulting in the Palmetto Bay Branch Library and the protections that the initial village council put in place to make sure we would have a library for current and future generations to enjoy.

The MDPLS Palmetto Bay Branch Library would not be in existence if Palmetto Bay had not first obtained the property where it is located. The property was owned by a mysterious individual known as Celestia De Lamour, possibly for The Suma Ching Hai International Association.  Not much was known about this property or its owner until it was discovered that workers on the property had hacked through protected mangrove trees and built a boardwalk through 300 feet of lush park-owned mangroves.  Investigators have never located the owner.  Look for an article entitled Sect leader's island is awash in mystery, By Curtis Morgan, Miami Herald, March 16, 2004

The property was seized and John Breder was a prime mover in the negotiation the purchase of the property with Miami-Dade County Environmental Crimes of MDPD.  First choice of the land under forfeiture disposal was for public use.  John Breder negotiated the price and kept it to the original purchase price of $350,000.00 – a bargain price for what was termed bay front land located on historic Old Cutler Road.

The Palmetto Bay Branch library was the result of a collaborative effort between the initial Palmetto Bay council and Miami-Dade County.  The MDPLS Palmetto Bay Branch library officially opened on Friday, March 19, 2010.  It is located at 17641 Old Cutler Road in Ludovici Park.  (read on by clicking "Read more" below for additional history)

The entire council each had a large part in visioning, design, construction and ultimate opening of this library. The original Palmetto Bay District One councilman Dr. Ed Feller worked with the county and architect in much of the visioning and design aspects.  Initial District Three Councilman John Breder worked on much of the lease negotiations.  The entire building process went through public masterplan/visioning process and numerous public meetings including committees of the whole (COW) and regular and special public council meetings. At one time, the MDPLS considered a store front library along US1, near SW 136 Street, Dr. Ed Feller, his wife Arlene and others though this not to be an ideal location, that the (later known as) Ludovici Park location would be a better location.

Palmetto Bay and Miami-Dade County entered into a 28 year lease in 2005.  This lease is known as the “Library Interlocal Agreement.” The payment terms provide that the county will make an annual payment of $108,980.70 during the 28 year period.  This is additional to the common area maintenance fees.  This money goes toward the ultimate purchase of this library building by the County.  Miami-Dade County is required to use this facility primarily for library and library-related purposes (and a possible use for elections). Failure of the County to use this site as a library at any time in the future (before or after the initial 28 year period) causes title to the property to revert back to Palmetto Bay.

This same agreement requires that the MDPLS will operate the library and pay the full yearly operating costs.  The library will be open 5 days per week from Monday through Saturday according to the following schedule:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday : 09:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday 11:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The library is not precluded from altering its hours of operation.

The County does have the right to cancel this agreement.  HOWEVER, Miami-Dade County will owe the village a balloon payment equal to the balance required to pay-off Palmetto Bay’s construction cost debt should the county chose to terminate the interlocal agreement for the library with Palmetto Bay. Palmetto Bay would retain and own the building.

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