Broward County Commissioners Defer Funding For Latin American And Caribbean Presidential Library

Dec 3, 2019

This post was updated with additional information at 5:09 p.m. Tuesday Dec. 3. 

Plans to build a Latin American and Caribbean Presidential Library in Fort Lauderdale are still on hold.

Broward County Commissioners voted 5 - to - 3 to indefinitely defer funding the project at a meeting Tuesday. 

The written proposal was for Broward County fund $800,000 of the capital cost for the library. Commissioners also discussed moving $1.2 million in other unused funds towards the library. Some commissioners estimated the entire project could cost anywhere from $4.6 million, to more than $5 million. 

 


It was one of Dale Holness's first initiatives as the county's new mayor. He's been an outspoken advocate for bringing the presidential library to Broward County. A group of former heads of state, called The Latin American Presidential Mission, is behind the effort. 

"I believe that what we have here is an opportunity, that unfortunately we may miss," Holness said. "I hope we don't."

However, several Commissioners expressed concerns over where the money would come from, and who would handle operating costs - including outgoing mayor, Mark Bogen:

"It's not about the idea, the idea is good," Bogen said. "I just can't see spending taxpayer dollars... People need money whether it be for homelessness, or housing, whatever it might be."

Before the vote, the City of Lauderdale Lakes' Mayor Hazelle Rogers told the commission she supports moving forward with funding the museum. 

"If you've never gone to Florida House in Washington, it makes you feel welcome when you go, that you have a home," Rogers said. "Can you just imagine what the world would feel like when Latin America and the Caribbean Prime Ministers talk about what Broward County has done, and wanting to come to our county?"

Read More: Latin American Presidential Library Center Looks Set For... Fort Lauderdale?

The library has been proposed to be built as part of the construction near the convention center. Commissioner Barbara Sharief, along with Commissioner Beam Furr, talked about the possibility of considering less touristy-locations. 

"We want people locally to be able to use it and learn from it, not just tourists," Sharief said. "Put it in the right place so it can be properly utilized."

A couple of ideas the commission briefly tossed around included Weston, and parts of Pembroke Pines. The southwest portion of the county has higher populations of hispanic residents. 

The project will come back before the county commissioners at a later date. 

"I'll continue relentlessly to pursue funding from elsewhere," Mayor Holness said.