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SURFSIDE (CBSMiami) – New controversy in Surfside over the future of the site of the tragic building collapse.
It’s all about how the condo owners will be compensated and where a memorial can be built.
“I still have dreams with the rubble. I still see him in the rubble. It’s ridiculous we have to fight for this,” said one woman at a hearing on Tuesday.
She lost her 26-year-old husband in the condo collapse in June.
“I cannot have a building built where he died, where his cousins died, where all of them died,” the woman added.
She and other survivors, as well as victims’ families, are asking for a land swap. Their goal is to build a memorial in the footprint where the Champlain Towers South once stood.
“Especially the heirs of the people who were lost feel an emotional attachment and a bond to that site,” said Oren Cytrynbaum, who lived in the part of the condo building that didn’t collapse.
In recent weeks, a judge overseeing the fate of the fallen building said he’d consider a land-swap proposal to facilitate a memorial, but only if the Town would agree to relocate its coveted community center to make way for a new luxury condo.
The potential land swap would move the community center next to a memorial built on the collapse site. In exchange, the community center’s original land would be sold to provide compensation to all those affected by the collapse.
“I don’t think the community center being in the absolute best location in town should be moved to the absolute worst location in town,” said one resident on Tuesday.
The Surfside Community Center is located at 9301 Collins Avenue. Moving the building to the Champlain Towers South site would move it further south, to 8777 Collins Avenue.
Any land swap would need to be approved by the commission and voters.
Survivors and family members of the victims in favor of the land swap proposal believe it is a way to move on without getting compensated by the sale of the land where the building once stood.
“You can still get compensation from developing on where the community center is currently, versus where the tragedy occurred,” said Cytrynbaum. “At the end of the day, everybody just wants the healing to begin somehow.”
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