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Southwest Orange Wednesday, Sep. 22, 2021 2 months ago

Hiring process causes delay on Windermere pavilion project

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The Rotary Club of Windermere will have to advertise for the open position of owner’s representative for a few more weeks.
by: Jim Carchidi Associate Editor

Progress on Windermere’s Healthy West Orange pavilion hit a snag during the Sept. 14 Town Council meeting, because of confusion over the hiring process for a key role.

The position, known as an owner’s representative, acts as a liaison between the project owners and the design and construction services. Responsibilities include assisting with project management, oversight and technical support.

“When the Rotary (Club of Windermere) sought interviews and made a selection for owner’s representative, (it) didn’t follow the town procurement practices,” Windermere Mayor Jim O’Brien said. “We just want to make sure the process is revisited.”

According to O’Brien, the procurement process involves advertising a request for proposal or a request for quote for 30 days. The requests are posted through social media, public notices and the Demandstar network, which connects government procurement agencies with business suppliers.

“(The town) wanted us to follow procedure; we thought we did,” said Byron Sutton, Rotary Club of Windermere pavilion project manager. “They advertise for 30 days. We only advertised for two weeks — which was our understanding that was satisfactory. But apparently it wasn’t. So we’ll advertise it some more.” 

Attorneys for the Windermere Rotary met with Town Manager Robert Smith Sept. 15 to discuss the process of moving forward with the hiring process.

“The next step in the process will be to advertise for construction companies,” Sutton said. “We’re going to have two workshops with the town so we can get input from citizens as to the acceptability of anything in the design.”

The Town Council approved a partnership with Rotary Club of Windermere Inc. in May to build the Healthy West Orange Pavilion. The outdoor facility is funded by a $1 million grant from the West Orange Healthcare District.

Construction will begin next year, although no completion date has been set. 

BOATHOUSE LEASES

The question of boathouse leases will remain unanswered for another month as approval on a fair market rate is discussed.

Located west of Main Street in Palmer Park, the five boathouses are estimated to be more than 100 years old. The question of ownership has been a hot topic for years with the town lacking ownership documentation and occupants only possessing quit-claim deeds, which only transfer title to a grantee.

However, the town does own the land beneath the structures and decided to lease the boathouses 20 years ago — each lease with an initial 10-year term. The leases then automatically renewed for another 10-year term. Progress was made at the Aug. 10 Town Council meeting, when a motion was passed to extend leases on a month-to-month basis with a 30-day notice of termination.

“Appraisal will come in, and we will evaluate to make sure it is something that we can all agree to,” Town Manager Robert Smith said in an email. “It is a unique property, so not your typical appraisal.”

An appraiser will be present at the Oct. 12 Town Council meeting to discuss the rate and answer questions.

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Jim Carchidi is an associate editor for the West Orange Times & Observer, Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com. He has more than two decades of journalism experience in Central Florida, including positions at the Orlando Sentinel and the Orlando Business Journal. He holds a...

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