By Sherry Nabbie-Singh
City Commissioner Mike Gelin proposed building a 10,000 seat IAAF certified track at the Sports Complex at an estimated cost of $3.5 million, however, provided no plans on how he would pay for it.
On April 14, Parks and Recreation Director Greg Warner showed the city commission two projected locations within the park and explained how the track would fit and what facilities would need to be removed to make space for it.
One of the locations is west of the football field while the other area is north of the basketball courts. With space being the major issue, Warner indicated both locations would be a “tight fit.”
Another challenge is the required master surface water permit which deals with stormwater mitigation for land development in Broward County. According to the city spokesperson, Eunicia Baker, since the Sports Complex is essentially built out, the city’s ability to create further stormwater mitigation in that area is restricted due to lack of open space.
Commissioner Gelin and Mayor Michelle Gomez both requested to move the commission discussion to accommodate public comments. Most of the callers were not residents of Tamarac and were invited by Commissioner Gelin to lend support on his behalf.
Two Tamarac residents voiced their reservations, including former City Commissioner Julie Fishman, a resident of the district where the Sports Complex is located. Another indicated no one had discussed if the estimated cost would include a parking area or explained where the funds would come from to pay for the track.
Commissioner Gelin explained the $3.5 million estimate came from his discussions with a company he did not name that builds running tracks.
“There are all kinds of ways you can come up with some additional financing that does not affect our budget.”
Commissioner Elvin Villalobos inquired on what was being voted on, whether it is a feasibility study or allowing the project to commence without public participation.
Commissioner Marlon Bolton interjected that a feasibility study was not required, which was confirmed by City Manager Michael Cernech.
The September 2021 date presented was “unrealistic,” said Commissioner Debra Placko, and Mayor Gomez said the matter needed to go back to the strategic planning phase and needed more research before the proposal could be voted on.
The motion passed 3-2 to revisit the idea when the city commission obtains enough information.
The entire meeting can be viewed online.
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- A self-published author and professional makeup artist who has resided in Tamarac since 2011. Originally from Trinidad, Sherry graduated from the University of the West Indies with a bachelor of arts in literature in English.
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