December 08, 2016
I encourage Winter Park residents to read the judge’s order validating city bonds to finance the project approved by the voters of Winter Park on March 15, 2016. That project includes demolition of the city’s existing civic center and the construction of a new municipal complex consisting of a library, events center, related parking facility, and incidental improvements to be located in Martin Luther King Jr. Park.
I am the only member of the current city commission not on the commission when it approved the Martin Luther King Jr. Park location and the library referendum language in the Fall of 2015. As a candidate, I did not speak for or against the library referendum.
Several citizens unhappy with the result of the March referendum pursued a petition seeking signatures based in large part on claims that one or more members of the city commission and some citizens considered the process and the referendum deceptive. If accepted by the city commission, this petition would effectively reverse what the judge has now validated and documented as a legitimate and enforceable democratic result. The commission declined to accept the petition by a 3-2 vote in August 2016. The petitioners have filed a lawsuit that is still pending in an effort to force an additional referendum.
As an impartial citizen observing the process leading up to the referendum over several years, I know the process was fully public, and that the referendum (approved by unanimous vote of the city commission) was based on sound judgment in the best interest of the city. That is, there was nothing deceptive about either the process or the referendum. The list of facts detailed in the judge’s order independently confirms this reality.
I ask that our community now come together to realize the best possible project in Martin Luther King Jr. Park for current and future residents, demonstrating the positive energy that lives in the heart and soul of our city.
Warm Regards, Pete Weldon