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Miami Beach residents take issue with proposed pump station

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A new water pump is set to go up near busy Lincoln Road to help ease some of the flooding concerns that Miami Beach endures during heavy rains and high tide. But residents in the area don't want the pump in their neighborhood.

Stephan Ginez, who owns the Gaythering Hotel at the end of Lincoln Road on South Beach, said he and dozens of his neighbors are speaking out against the massive pump station that will have a generator, electrical vault and control panels and what the city’s Public Works Director said will be the largest pump station in the area.

Ginez said it will destroy the bayfront boulevard.

“What is being proposed by the city is to take the full block, so we’re talking about 121 feet from this street to the other street,” Ginez said. “There will be no more parking; all the parking is being eliminated.”

A sign on his hotel shows the proposed height of the project, reaching up past second story windows.

Roy Coley, Miami Beach Public Works director, said the project will dwarf existing pump stations throughout West Avenue. That’s because the city has expanded original plans both in scope and size.

“The closer we can locate the pump station to where we’re going to discharge the water at the bay, the more efficient it is,” Coley said.

The contractor has provided renderings proposing ways to beautify the project.

Ginez said in November neighbors met with the city engineer asking for analysis of alternate site, but he said they got no feedback. Then in April, a letter to the City Commission advised that Lincoln Road was still the preferred location.

Miami Beach Commissioner Mark Samuelian said more discussion was needed before investing so much time and money planning for a location that he believes is not ideal.

“The taxpayers, the residents are funding these programs. They’re going to live with it. We need their buy in,” said Samuelian.

But Coley said if there is a relocation it will have far-reaching consequences. “If we choose to relocate it, of course it’s possible, but you will likely delay this project by years and you will certainly add millions to the cost.”

Louis Solish who also lives in the neighborhood said he would prefer it cost more and be put in an area that doesn’t cause such disruption. “What is the problem of making it cost more and putting it in a location that doesn’t affect the life and view of west Lincoln Road?”

The commission was supposed to take a vote on the pump station on Wednesday, June 24, but Local 10 learned that they will only discuss the issue, but will not be putting it to a final vote at that meeting.

About the Author:

Amy Viteri is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who joined Local 10 News in September 2015. She's currently an investigative reporter and enjoys uncovering issues facing South Florida communities. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, she's happy to be back in South Florida, where she earned a masters degree at the University of Miami.