By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
Immediately after Hurricane Andrew, the museum was included as part of a pilot program for nonprofit organizations. President Bush promised 100 percent funding for recovery projects. The dollar figures for our museum projects were grossly underestimated, and we were assured that these were only estimates and that the real costs would be paid.
The museum staff made it very clear to our architect that this was a limited budget project only to meet codes and standards for Dade County and nothing more. We solicited five bids; the guidelines required only three. The lowest bidder was Harrison Construction Company, a long-established and respected Miami corporation.
Funding was granted after many meetings with state and federal representatives, the contractor and architect, and museum representatives. The museum would not commit to a contract until the funds to cover the bid were guaranteed by FEMA.
FEMA mandated that hurricane protective barriers be installed, and provided several thousand dollars of additional funding to protect the property during future disasters. A letter from FEMA stated that unless we complied with this requirement there would be no funding for the construction of the museum building. It is very important to understand that the government agencies were well aware this was a monumental undertaking. There was not one product available that met Dade County requirements for this type of application.
Construction was delayed and county codes were changed as we submitted papers and held discussions about the substantial increases in cost for the hurricane barriers, in the event a product that met requirements could be either found or engineered. All cost increases in this project are directly attributable to the bureaucracy.
The only issue in this post-hurricane disaster is that someone in the government, either at the state or federal level, approved the construction plans submitted for our building. Funds were allocated and paid. One year after project approval, there has been a change of mind by reviewers. A "mistake" was made. After two years of meetings and reviews by professional government employees, is the government admitting it was negligent in following rules and regulations? Were their employees not trained or qualified? The government will admit there is not one item in our construction package that is above the current code.
A second item in the article that needs to be corrected is that the museum is open weekdays from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and weekends 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is five dollars for adults and three for children under twelve years of age. Our phone number for information is 253-0063; the fax number is 233-4641. Our Web page is at http://www.elink.net/goldcoast.
We invite every taxpayer to visit the museum to see firsthand the monument of government bureaucracy and waste. A million dollars of tax money -- your money -- was spent on a jumble of nonfunctioning concrete pillars. Every taxpayer should be enraged by this government waste. I welcome an explanation by my state and federal representatives as to how it happened.
Connie Greer, director
Gold Coast Railroad Museum
Feedback and a Dose of Reverb for Emilio
In reference to Israel "Cachao" Lopez ("Reverb," October 17), I agree with John Floyd. Frank Amadeo, vice president of Crescent Moon Records, isn't telling the truth. Besides, what happened with the legendary "queen of the bolero," the songstress Olga Guillot?
Her fans clamor for a new album of boleros. "La Guillot" is well-known in Spain and all Latin American countries. Tributes are appreciated in life; when those legends are dead, what for? What do you have to say in reference to Olga Guillot, Mr. Amadeo or Emilio Estefan?
Last week's cover story by Kathy Glasgow, "Clinical Depression," incorrectly stated that Miami Supportive Housing Corporation is a branch of a New York nonprofit. Miami Supportive Housing Corporation is a Dade County-based organization. New Times regrets the error.