May 132016


Dear Editor,

At last month’s BOCC meeting, the commission approved funding renovations for Bernstein Park in Stock Island. It is a small park which kids and adults use who live in Stock Island as well as other groups in the keys. The cost will be 8 million dollars.

In 2013, when the project first came up, the cost to lift the field for flood, build new bathrooms and a storage space for equipment to maintain the park, was estimated at 3 million.

Why now should this project cost 8 million?

It’s because a 5 million dollar building, I call the “Taj Mahal”, will be included in the project.

This building is huge with two floors, multiple rooms, full kitchen and more that impedes on the green space which could have been used for regular sized athletic fields. Our only green space in Stock Island will now have a big building sitting on it. Why put such a tremendous building on green space? Once you build concrete on green, the green area is gone forever.

So now my question to the public is, why on earth spend 5 million dollars for ONE building?

Is there a commission someone receives or a percentage of the project? Who benefits from these huge buildings going up in the keys? Enlighten me please. My phone is (305) 897 – 4567.

Diane Beruldsen
Stock Island

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 May 13, 2016  Posted by at 12:44 am Issue #166, Letter to the Editor  Add comments

  2 Responses to “Stock Island’s Taj Mahal”

  1. Thank you for writing about the oddities surrounding Bernstein Park. I’ve noticed it myself. I’ve got no objection to the park improvements, but the BOCC (especially Kolhage) is not being very transparent here. And I don’t like that.

    They claim these buildings are what the “community wants” but nobody else is saying that.

    They also try to pretend they’re flabbergasted by this enormous cost increase. Staff dutifully fell on their sword, but the truth is staff gave them a $5-6 million cost estimate a year before the $3 million was added to the capital plan. If the numbers in the original estimate had been refined and updated, it would probably be pretty close to $8 million.

    Besides Kolhage and Carruthers were both at a Parks & Rec meeting in January 2015 where the building was discussed. It’s not like this building caught them by surprise.

    As to your question about who might benefit, there’s a Key West plumbing company named as a subcontractor. It’s owned by Barry Barroso. Is he any relation to former FKAA board member Brian Barroso?

    I wrote a little about it here:

  2. Likely some people to be over paid or bribed. Nothing new about that in the keys. They never care what the people want or need. This is not limited to KW or Monroe county. Happens everywhere but they do a better job hiding it. Only the voters can fix it.

    But is a bright side as maybe would double if needed as shelter when a hurricane comes.

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