Following multiple comments at the Sept. 28 Clermont City Council meeting regarding the lack of decorum this past year to year-and-a-half — comments that at times punctuated with heated exchanges during public comments and sometimes among council members themselves — the Oct. 12 city council meeting was a tame affair. 

In fact, the only item on the agenda, that drew any outspoken concern from both the public and from councilors, was the fifth item on the consent agenda. That item revolved around the proposed acceptance from a single/sole source for the construction of a proposed miniature fitness court at Victory Point.

This court, explained Acting Interim City Manager Scott Davidoff, began with the city being awarded a $30,000 grant by the National Fitness Campaign. The balance of the cost, an estimated $105,000, would be met from park impact fees and not from the city’s general fund. It was also made clear the grant money could only be used for the construction of the fitness court. It could not go towards, salaries, road construction into the fitness court, etc.

That was a question posed to councilors by Vincent Niemiec. He pointed out that the company in question is based in California, and that weather conditions there differ from those in Florida. Who would pay for the construction and upkeep, he rhetorically asked.

Another aspect of the proposed court would be a billboard, which elicited a comment from Dani Page, who often addresses council members during public comment on a number of matters. She believed the proposed billboard would present an opportunity for it to be filled with graffiti. Davidoff had a ready response.

“We’ve been very fortunate,” Davidoff said. He then went on to say that the materials used to build the fitness court was that of graffiti-resistant materials and coatings. 

City councilors were challenged on the why and wherefore of the proposed mini-fitness site. Leading the questioning was Paula Hoisinger. To her and many in the community, it didn’t make sense, not when there are other areas of Clermont with concerns and issues that need to be addressed.

Still, Davidoff expressed support for the project and continued to champion its purpose.

“There are 16 in Florida,” he said. “These are successful.”

It appeared he was alone in that matters, starting with Councilor Timothy Bates, who didn’t support a billboard. Nor did Councilor Jim Purvis, who was more pungent in his comments, which also drew laughter from the audience.

Purvis called the project an abomination. He then went on to boast that no one — not fellow councilors, city staff or the public at large reads the city budget as thoroughly as he does. It’s his favorite hobby, he said, and he engages it almost everywhere, even in the toilet; that last comment was the one greeted with laughter.

“I am not going to support this in any way, shape or form, thank you,” Purvis said in concluding his remarks.

Council member Ebo Entsuah expressed his belief the city could do better, while Councilor Michele Pines asked for a clarification about the grant money. She was informed the grant money could only go toward a new capital project. In a follow-up question, it was explained that by not accepting the grant it would be withdrawn.

Council members defeated Item No. 5 in an unanimous 5-0 vote.

 

Recommended for you