The new City Centre in Madeira Beach is open.
City Manager Shane Crawford says the sprawling $10 million complex with stunning views was designed for both business and pleasure.
"Usually when you come to City Hall, you’ve got to pay a parking ticket or pull out a building permit," he said. "And we wanted people to want to come here and hang out."
The new City Centre not only includes City Hall, but it also houses a commissioner’s boardroom, a new fire department, ROC park, NCAA-sanctioned ball fields and an event stage. Meeting rooms with gorgeous views can be rented for weddings or other gatherings. Ball fields that will bring in tournaments extend into an event field.
"We designed this to be a fun place to go but also to be a revenue generator, so if we’re gonna spend $10 million, how can we recop some of that investment?" Crawford said. "So we created banquet rooms, we created a bandshell."
The new fire department provides first responders with new living and sleeping space. Firefighters also have access to a new fitness center on site.
On Friday, the City Centre Room was being used for a weekly bridge game.
"We used to play in the old building and it was really dark and dungy," said Roger Pryor. “But now boy, we really have something to look forward to and see all the sunshine. It’s rather uplifting every time we come."
Crawford says more excitement is already planned for the new complex. A water taxi service is in the works.
"You can navigate yourself through, not only Madeira Beach but hopefully Treasure Island, St. Pete Beach, the Redingtons," said Crawford.
That service could be available in February.
Only open a few weeks, Crawford says people are already enjoying the new complex.
"When you spend tax dollars to build something, you want the community to enjoy it, not dread it, so it was meant to be a happy place," said Crawford.