Homestead Celebrates the State of the City

Homestead’s annual State of the City address at the Seminole Theatre on June 7 was a sold-out event although impacted by the stormy weather.

“Thank you for braving the elements,” said Mayor Jeff Porter. “It’s a monsoon out there!” County reports measured rainfall that evening at 2.5 inches.

A reception catered by The Palace Gardens

following the presentation had to be moved indoors.

Seminole Executive Director Mickey McGuire opened the program. “Tonight we’ll be highlighting our future endeavors and our road to success,” he began.

Loretta Marsicano sang the National Anthem while the Invocation was given by Pastor Russell Black.

Mayor Porter introduced the program theme, Together We Rise. An eleven and a half minute video gave each Council member a filmed opportunity to showcase buildings and programs commissioned by the City.

City staff said the movie began production in May. It was notable for its professional graphics and vivid cinematography. The video spent time on the proposed multi-modal center, retail space, parking garage and cybrary project to be known as Homestead Station.

Jon Wasielewski manages the Seminole Theatre’s technical equipment. He talked about the appeal of the video and the rented LED equipment it was shown on.

“This screen is actually made up of 2 by 3 foot screens, thirty panels in all, hooked to a laptop,” he explained. “When the theater gets its new equipment installed, the OLED screens will be even better. The Seminole will be the best cinema venue anywhere in South Florida.”

The Together We Rise video was sponsored by Homestead’s hired lobbying firms, Bob Levy Associates and Becker Poliakoff, as well as the Homestead Hospital.

The presentation offered impressive statistics of Homestead’s growth, done without any increase in taxes, staff reductions or program cuts.

The loudest audience applause was the announcement of a planned truck by-pass for Krome Avenue, but the new northbound turnpike entrance ramp was also popular.

Mayor Porter recited five miles of street repairs, filled potholes and 95,000 feet of sidewalk repairs. Finished projects like City Hall and the Police Station were contrasted with the Miami-Dade College partnership for a new entrepreneurial center and the West Homestead school conversion done with CRA funds.

On screen, the $2.1 million deal with the Orange Bowl committee for refurbishment of Harris Field, its lighting, and new scoreboard were another film highlight. The Mayor underscored the benefits to local high schools of a first class athletic facility.

City Manager George Gretsas was praised for his leadership “as the tip of the spear” by Porter. He said, “We are blessed to have a man of his ability come work for us.”

“Of course, Council members are the key to success,” the Mayor concluded. “When we work together, we are unstoppable.”

On the way to the reception in the lobby, Councilman Larry Roth offered his opinion of the event. “Simply beautiful. I’m optimistic about future!” he said.