Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Fire Station will take a grass roots effort to get to resolution. Join us and others in this effort!

Such a shame.  I am compelled to post this update to the blog as I, like so many other residents, keep waiting for a substantive update from Shelley relative to the two fire station locations along Old Cutler Road. 

I am still trying to figure out why this issue had been neglected by the current mayor and council for so long. By way of past history, it was reported, including one by Hal Feldman, back on 9/23/2009, that the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill sponsored by (then) Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Miami, to allow for the construction of a new fire station in Palmetto Bay.  The bill would allow the USDA to sell about two acres of land on the east side of Southwest 67th Avenuesbetween Southwest 136th and 144th Street (within Palmetto Bay), to Miami-Dade County to build the fire station. This was the result of hard work, both locally and in Washington DC by the original Village Council in cooperation with the County officials and this (temporarily) put Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest and parts of both Coral Gables and Cutler Bay close to getting a new fire station.  Back in 2002, we could see the life saving proposition as it would reduce response times to the areas.  We were close in 2009, then came the change in Palmetto Bay administration and we heard nothing about finalizing the Fire Station for years. Years of hard work and set up appear squandered as we finally learned in late 2013 that there is a need to start over from scratch. That is unfortunate, given that this is a critical life-safety issue.

I am pleased that the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department invited residents to a public meeting they set up at Palmetto Bay's Village Hall back on December 11, 2013 (CLICK HERE to view the official notification).  The purpose of this meeting was to discuss M-DFR Station 62. Attendees then learned that this may be a 5 to 8 year project and that no specific site has in fact been selected.   This is in stark contrast to 2009.

I am very disappointed. This is a huge step backward.  Back in 2009, not that long ago, everything appeared to allow the County to purchase the land and construct a fire station. Congressman Diaz-Balart called back then for immediate resolution. Miami-Dade County had indicated it would build a 7,000 square foot fire station that will house eight full-time firefighters and will conduct 24/7 operations.  Check out Palmetto Bay’s official e-currents for September 2009 for a full update from back then then see what a difference years of neglect makes. 

I had been prodding current mayor Stanczyk for years and back in June asked about the USDA location Fire Station - also see  Nov. 30, 2012; A holiday wish list for the new Palmetto Bay council | Palmetto Bay. Wherein I asked for "The status of two fire stations that the original Palmetto Bay village council worked with Federal, State and Local (County Commission and Fire Department) officials." I should have picked up from the deafening silence from Mayor Stanczyk that the news would not be good,  and this was proven not only by the lack of response from her, but in the failed panicked rush in late 2013 to pick up a long-neglected project apparently on life-support if not now dead.
As I said back in 2009, “Nothing is more important than life safety.''  This is true neighborhood protection.

Well, the December 11, 2013, meeting is now firmly in our rear view mirror, forgotten by many, but not by me.  So what has happened since County Fire reached out and provided their update? There has been no comment or acknowledgement of plan of action from Palmetto Bay officials. The mayor appears only to have moved onto a new road show, the Downtown redevelopment. I would like to see a completion of at least one new fire station before we start this process once again of getting close, then dropping the project and moving on to the next headline generating project. Is this past behavior a foreshadowing of what we can expect for the DRTF, a public effort currently creating public attention, but to be dropped once attention wanes and the 2014 elections are over?

It is clear that the effort falls upon all of us to step up to reinvigorate the fire station effort and bring additional fire service to Palmetto Bay.  And we all should get involved and stay involved in the DRTF.

Join your neighbors. This could save a life. And all these projects will impact our quality of life. 

And what would I like to see?  Completion of the two Old Cutler Fire Stations - north and south locations. It is time for a full accounting from Shelley as to the actual efforts made to date, rather than simply tell how important this effort is - everyone agrees that the increased fire service is important.  Less talk/more do, fewer update meetings and providing proof of hard work and actual progress.


  1. It is becoming more than obvious to us that we have a mayor and council who are simply treading water. Nothing gets done. Perhaps that is for the best.

  2. What has happened over the last 4 years other than lawsuits?

    1. Stanczyk has filed ethics complaints against the other council members. How are those complaints going?

  3. why are no ethics complaints filed against this worthless mayor? If there have been, what is the current position on them?