When fire department officials and police brass in Coral Gables first raised concerns about the new public safety building the city had designed without their input, they were told it was too late to make any significant changes.
But there have been some minor interior adjustments made just recently after the forced resignation of embattled Assistant City Manager Frank Fernandez, who was also the public safety director and who helped design the original building with office space for himself and a staff of at least two people.
Since Iglesias said he does not plan to put public safety back in the hands of an assistant city manager — and, in fact, already put emergency management back in the rightful hands of the fire department — that space for a wannabe police chief is no longer needed (not that it ever was).
“It’s not a big deal,” Iglesias told Ladra about the “minor tweaks” and said that there were no exterior changes made to the footprint of the 5-story, 118,000-square-foot complex going up at 2151 Salzedo Street, about six blocks north of the current and decrepit police and fire department headquarters.
Also, he said, the last minute changes were done with input from the fire department and police department brass.
“They’re interior changes and we worked with everyone. I can tell you I worked with everyone,” Iglesias said.
That italics is his because even the city manager admits that the fire department and police department leaders were not brought into the loop during the initial design phase, which led to concerns about the allocation of space to firefighter housing and equipment wells — and maybe for staff that wasn’t needed.
The $52.2 million complex was designed with the future in mind and is expected to meet the city’s needs for the next 75 years, Iglesias told Ladra. It will replace the old and crumbling police and fire department headquarters at 2801 Salzedo Street (pictured here).
Site work began about a month ago some piles have been installed, the manager said, adding that the target completion is in September, 2020, which seems very optimistic. But the official ground breaking with all the ladeeda city hullaballo is at 11 a.m. Friday.
Expect it to be well attended by the candidates in April’s election.