Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lack of Local leadership/vision in Palmetto Bay results in taxpayers footing the entire bill for Thalatta Estate renovations that are NOT historic restoration

Guess what fellow Palmetto Bay taxpayers and historic and park enthusiasts: Historic Preservation received $9,094,523 and $ll8,250 in the current State budget submitted to Governor Scott. What does this mean for Palmetto Bay? Unfortunately, nothing as Mayor Stanczyk and the entire council were missing in action on competing for any of this money, sitting it out. Even though our Palmetto Bay council just awarded a bid to perform the quick and dirty, not historically correct repairs to our Thalatta Estate at the May regular council meeting at the cost of over $448,000.00 - far from peanuts.

There is State Grant money earmarked for Martin County, Calhoun County, Port St Joe, St Johns, St Augustine (4 projects),  LaBelle, Hendry County, St. Petersburg, Leon County and something called Chinsegut Hill Plantation (CLICK HERE to view the list).  These officials worked it and participated in the process. These projects will not rely less upon local money to obtain higher results.

Most importantly, $l,398,773 was left in pot for projects that went through the Secretary of State Historic grant making. Hear that Mayor Stanczyk?: substantial money was put aside for projects that went through the Secretary of State Historic grant making.  Note the use of the term “went.” This is not put here to apply for, this is award money for those who had the vision to seek and actually APPLIED and ‘worked it’ for it for worthwhile projects.  Where were you?

This is a huge opportunity missed by Palmetto Bay's elected officials. I cannot think of a more deserving project than the (soon to be formerly) historic Thalatta Estate.

Palmetto Bay residents pay taxes to the State. More of those monies could have come back us in the form of a state grant, but instead, thanks to neglect, our state tax dollars will be spent elsewhere in other sections of Florida to preserve historically significant properties.

What a shame, Palmetto Bay has a historic preservation board*, but perhaps it is used to tell the residents what to do, while not designating what is arguably the most historic property in Palmetto Bay. A far too often classic case of "do what we say, not what we do." 

Perhaps anyone who finds their property in Palmetto Bay restricted through Palmetto Bay government action in historic designation should throw up the fact that Palmetto Bay talks a good game, but fails to practice what it preaches, back into the face of the current Mayor and council. No consistency, but government by fiat, not leadership by example.

What is up with this current Mayor and council? Are they simply jumping the gun, gun shy about actually putting in the work to pursue grants or did the initial council put away so much money that it is simply easier to spend these monies rather than actually working hard to seek out and obtain grants for historic renovation of Thalatta?  Renovating Thalatta is important for future generations.  As founding mayor, we worked hard on grants and through our hard work of council vision, staff expertise and with our lobbying team, we obtained 100% grant money for the purchase of this wonderful historic home; see my January update on Thalatta. Tax dollars, not grant dollars, and not historically restored

This property has special significance to me, having fought hard to save it and eventual led the purchasing of this property as well as the grants to fund the purchase and initial updates to the bay front park property, which I proudly proclaimed “put the bay, back in Palmetto Bay.”

I argued that there is the possibility of grant monies for restoration (and there exists in the 2013-2014 State Budget). Palmetto Bay used to do so well at obtaining grants and appropriations. Unfortunately that appears to be a lost art with this current mayor and council. For me, I don’t want to hear “can’t” or that ‘money is not available like it used to be.’ Check the record Mayor Stanczyk, there are grants still available from the state. I asked you to pursue them.  I publicly offered up one potential source before they committed over $448,000 direct out of village coffers for non-historically correct repairs (note that the agenda for this meeting has since been taken down from the village website and the minutes from that meeting have not yet been approved and therefore not available for posting):

The Historic Preservation Grants Program allocates state funds appropriated by the Legislature and federal funds apportioned to the state by the U. S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, for the preservation and protection of the state's historic and archaeological sites and properties. The program is administered by the Bureau of Historic Preservation, Division of Historical Resources, Florida Department of State. Two types of grants are awarded through this program: Small Matching Grants and Special Category Grants.

* Purpose of the Palmetto Bay Historic Preservation Board is stated to be to promote the preservation of historic resources and to cultivate an appreciation for the architectural and cultural heritage of the Village – just not, obviously, Palmetto Bay’s Thalatta Estate.


  1. AnonymousMay 15, 2013

    Realistically Gene, what are the chances of getting that Historic Preservation money?

  2. AnonymousMay 15, 2013

    How can Palmetto Bay have a historic preservation board and yet not include this property for historic designation?

  3. AnonymousMay 15, 2013

    The people of this village deserve a council that can work together: http://www.communitynewspapers.com/archive/palmetto-bay/

  4. AnonymousMay 15, 2013

    Can a resident request that Thalatta be submitted to the historic designation board?