During the Special Election on May 13, Homestead residents can cast a vote on two important issues: a new police station and the revitalization of the Seminole Theatre. The new police station would replace Homestead’s current police facility, which is toxic and poses serious risks to the health and safety of police personnel. The revitalization of the Seminole Theatre would fill a cultural void in Homestead and boost downtown Homestead’s economic development.
Ballot Issue 1: New Police Station
In 1912, the building opened as a small bank, not outfitted for police operations. Today, studies show that the deteriorating building has several serious problems. Radon, the most dangerous threat, is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer. It enters a building through its water supply and the gaps, cracks, and cavities in the building’s foundation. Inspections have recorded levels of radon up to 5.8 pCi/L in the current police station. Normal indoor levels should be 1.3 pCi/L and action is required after levels exceed 4.0 pCi/L. The 102-year-old station also has moisture and aging problems that have resulted in mold, clogged water drains, water damage and cracks in the walls. Mold can trigger toxic effects, infections, asthma, and allergic illnesses.
The outdated police station is currently too small, ill-equipped for 21st century law enforcement operations and fails to meet many FEMA and ADA standards. When this building was constructed in 1912, Homestead had only 121 residents. Today, more than 60,000 residents call Homestead home. Protecting Homestead means providing police officers a safe working environment and the tools they need to uphold the City’s anti-crime efforts.
The passage of the police station bond referendum will provide funding to construct a new police headquarters, evacuate police personnel for their health and safety and temporarily relocated police operations to the City-owned Homestead Sports Complex.
Ballot Issue 2: Cultural Arts Center CompletionThe City acquired the Seminole Theatre building in 1992. Although there have been several rehab attempts from private groups the theatre has not been completed. Homestead currently lacks a Cultural Arts Center that offers performing arts and entertainment opportunities to our children, residents and tourists.
The revitalization of the Seminole Theatre as a multi-purpose Cultural Arts Center would boost downtown Homestead’s economic, cultural and community life; it could create jobs and host conventions and meetings, film festivals and concerts; rental space for non-profit arts and social services organizations; space for community artists to teach music, dance, photography and art; and offer space for community college students to take performing art classes.
Additionally, a revitalized Seminole Theatre would provide Homestead-area families and youth with a much-needed public arts and educational facility for weekend, after-school and summertime enrichment activities, which are currently not available in our area.
The funding to address these facility issues comes through two bond referendums, one bond for $21 million to ensure a safe working environment and adequate space for police services and the other bond for $5 million to transform the Seminole Theatre into a Cultural Arts Center and enhance the City’s downtown revitalization efforts.
For more information on these two important issues, visit: www.cityofhomestead.com/communityalert