Commissioners in Surfside, Florida , rejected a proposal to swap a public beach with the prospective buyer of the site d 'collapse of a condominium so that a memorial to the 98 victims can be built there.
The decision followed a moving meeting on Tuesday as the family members of those who died in the Champlain Sud towers collapse on June 24 and city residents filled the commission chambers, the Miami Herald reported . They had to set up an overflow room to accommodate the crowds.
After about an hour of public commentary, the commissioners told the families of the victims that they would not consider a proposal to demolish Surfside. community centerire and build a new one, as well as a memorial, at the site of the collapse. They also stated that they would not submit such a land swap to voters in a referendum.
"My heart breaks for you because I know it is something something you had hopes for, "Mayor Charles Burkett, who was the sole supporter of the proposal, said. "I hope you won't give up hope.
4TH PERSON ACCUSED OF VICTIMS OF CONDO COLLAPSE SURFSIDE FLYING IDENTIFIERS
Commissioners Salzhauer and Nelly Velasquez called on opponents of the idea to speak out.
"This is the time when we come together as a community to defend our community center and all properties in town, "Velasquez wrote on social media. Salzhauer wroteseparately that the city "will NOT allow this tragedy to be exploited for profit and become the invaluable community center of Surfside and the quality of life for our residents.
Deliberations have at times been interrupted by upset family members, the newspaper reported. A man shouted "Let people vote! ". image-ct inline ">
In this Sunday July 11, 2021, File photo, Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett delivers remarks during the daily morning press conference outside the opera centerCounty Councilor in Surfside, Fla. (Carl Juste / Miami Herald via AP, File)
The Board of Directors has agreed to 'explore ways to build a memorial for the victims, either on a piece of land where part of the tower fell or somewhere else.
Currently, an offer of $ 120 million for le Champlain The Towers South property is on the table. The exchange plan would have allowed the buyer to instead build a tower on the site of the 10-year-old Surfside Community Center, which features an oceanfront pool and waterslide and function rooms. A new center would be built, along with a memorial, at the site of the disaster.
Miami-Dade judge Michael Hanzman, who oversees the collapse class action lawsuit, had favored the 'exchange because a means of indprotect the victims with a real estate sale while allowing the construction of a memorial.
Search and rescue personnel remove re on stretcher as they work on the rubble of the Champlain Towers South condo building, where dozens of people are missing more than a week after its partial collapse on Friday, July 2, 2021. (AP Photo / Mark Humphrey)
"It should not be their decision, it should be the decision of the residents, "said David Rodan, whose brother and three cousins died in the collapse." They are scared because they know that locals want to do the right thing, they want to look back and see a memorial where it should be instead of a building. "
Rodan told the Herald that he and his group will continue to push for a referendum.
"The community wants to see a memorial there and if land swap is the only option the community is ready to move their community centers to five blocks "Rodan said.
However, some residents who oppose the land swap told commissioners they are supporting a memorial site, but not at the expense of the community center .
"I am in favor of 'a memorial. I think it 's fair for the victims and their families. I 'm not in favor of a land swap ", Surfside resident Paul O ' Malley told NBC6.
Raquel Oliveira, whose husband and son of 5 years died in the apsis coll, asked the commissioners to help families find a way to build a memorial.
"Maybe the exchange does not 'not the best option or maybe it is, "she said. " What I ask is that we have some time to take the good decision. "