Hollywood residents will get the opportunity to vote on a general obligation bond in the upcoming March 12 election. The money would be used to pay for major expenses — such as a new police headquarters, major improvements to two golf courses, the purchase of a closed golf course and infrastructure improvements to city facilities.
The decision to include the bond in the March 12 election was made at a City Commission meeting on Dec. 5.
The bond is being divided into three categories and voters will be able to choose which categories they want to vote for or against:
- The first category will be $23 million to improve the City’s neighborhoods, infrastructure, and resiliency.
- The second category will be about $78 million to improve the City’s police and fire public safety facilities and equipment.
- The third category will be for $64 million to improve the City’s parks, recreational facilities, cultural facilities, golf courses and purchase land for open space.
The total GO bond would be for about $165 million.
The bonds will be payable from unlimited ad valorem taxes and mature no later than 25 years from issuance date. A homeowner with a property valued at $165,000 would pay about $106 a year in additional property taxes if the GO bond is approved.
According to the City of Hollywood website, some of the proposed projects to be funded by the GO bond include:
New Hollywood Police Department Headquarters
Hollywood Fire Rescue Trucks and Equipment
Traffic Calming and Control Measures
City-wide Park Improvements
Preservation of Open Space through the acquisition of the former Sunset Golf Course and revitalization of Orangebrook and Hollywood Beach Golf Courses
Art and Culture Center/Hollywood Multidisciplinary Arts Education Center
ArtsPark at Young Circle Improvements
Renovation of former Armory Building into Indoor Sports Facility
Recreational Facilities and Sports Fields
Creation of Natural Trails
Neighborhood Sound Walls and Landscaping
Gateway and Neighborhood Monument Signs
Sea Walls and Tidal Flooding Mitigation
Hardening of Utilities in North Beach
Timeline of the GO bond project:
- In November 2017 the City Commission held a workshop to figure out how much funding is needed for improvements throughout the city
- The City Commission agreed to pursue a GO bond to fund those improvements
- From November 2017 until March 2018, the City Commission held community meetings, conducted a survey of likely voters, and developed an Initial project list
- From June 2018 to present day- GO bond planning staff continue to work on refining the projects
- In the November 2018 midterm elections, the residents of Hollywood approved a transportation surtax
- The City of Hollywood is currently working on the final list of projects and the language of the March ballot questions
Here is more information about some of the proposed projects for the bond.
Sunset Golf Course
One piece of land that the bond money could be used to purchase is the Sunset Golf Course, a 45-acre property.
Although there was a lot of discussion around the purchase of the property, it is not currently known whether or not the city will even be able to purchase the land or exactly how it would be developed. The project would cost $12 million.
Many local residents want this land to be used for what is now a passive park. It would be a place for people to go and relax, walk, jog, cycle, and participate in yoga and maybe casual ball games.
“This is an important first step in securing permanent protection for Sunset,” Max Soren, chair of the Save Sunset Committee, wrote in a statement. “We thank the commissioners for their vote. We especially thank Mayor Josh Levy, Commissioner Traci Callari and Commissioner Peter Hernandez for helping to champion our cause at today’s meeting. To everyone who wrote in and showed up, your input made the difference.”
New Police Headquarters
The current police headquarters, measured at 76,000 square feet, is outdated and old. It is not considered to be safe in the event the city is hit by a major hurricane.
Police leadership believes a new structure is needed. A new police headquarters would be 120,000 square feet and include a 450 space parking garage. In addition, the fire department would receive new equipment and vehicles.
“We need to replace the current police station. In case of a storm we would be hard pressed to have a place to operate from,” Hollywood Commissioner Peter Hernandez said at a meeting about the GO bond. “The police building is not built to withstand a powerful storm.
The new police headquarters would cost $72.6 million. Another $5 million would be for fire equipment including: three ALS rescue units, three engines, one hazmat truck, one battalion command vehicle and an air pack system for structural fire fighting.
Art and Culture Center/Hollywood Multidisciplinary Arts Education Center
The Art and Culture Center/Hollywood‘s “Arts Ignite!” facilities expansion initiative is among the improvement projects selected for the Let’s GO Hollywood General Obligation Bond (GO Bond). Hollywood voters can vote for the Bond during the special election scheduled on March 12, 2019.
The funds allocated to the Center would represent the City’s contribution to the construction of new multi-disciplinary arts-education spaces and the expansion/renovation of current visual arts galleries at the downtown campus located at 1650 Harrison Street.
Through a successful GO Bond Referendum, the Art and Culture Center/Hollywood will build new education, gallery and performance spaces adjacent to the historic Kagey Home facility.
“The Art and Culture Center/Hollywood welcomes this incredible opportunity to expand and modernize our facilities,” said Joy Satterlee, the Center’s Executive Director. “Through a successful GO Bond Referendum, the Center will build new spaces adjacent to the historic Kagey Home that would offer a much wider array of adult and children’s programs, while also providing a multi-faceted social and creative hub in Downtown Hollywood.”
The Orangebrook Golf and Country Club project would involve a new 15,000 square foot clubhouse, the renovation of 36 holes — divided into an 18 hole championship course and an 18 hole par three course. There would be a 10,000 square foot cart barn and a 12,000 square foot maintenance building. The entire project will cost $24.7 million.
The renovation of the Armory building will cost $2.4 million and will include an indoor sports facility with basketball courts, batting cages and other equipment and meeting rooms and office space.
The Dowdy Sports Field project will include the replacement of artificial turf, new drainage, and new LED sports lighting at a cost of $2.5 million.
The Hollywood West Sports Park project will include the replacement of artificial turf, new bleachers and park equipment for a cost of $1.1 million. The Zinkil Park project will include replacing playground equipment for $604,688.
In general, the city commission is optimistic about the GO bond.
“The City has a great opportunity with the bond. If the voters approve the bond, we could make the City an even better place to live,” Josh Levy, mayor of Hollywood, said. “We could have protection from coastal flooding and a new police station for public safety. We could purchase open space and improve assets that benefit the public.”
Hernandez thinks the improvements to Orangebrook will go a long way for the city. “It would be good if we could get a PGA event at Orangebrook,” he said. “That would mean a lot of good publicity for Hollywood.”
Commissioner Caryl Shuham, who still has questions about the bond, also sees the benefits of new facilities for the city.
“I think it is a good thing to put the decision to the voters,” Shuham said. “I am in favor of the decision we made. I believe we need a new police station. The building is too small and outdated. It would not be secure during a severe storm. We need a better facility.”
She added: “I am optimistic about the bond.”