Veto list: No cash for community center in Hilliard

Ron DeSantis VETO (5)
The dual purpose building would have been a hurricane shelter.

Among more than $3 billion in vetoes from Gov. Ron DeSantis Thursday: $5 million for a Nassau County community center that would have been a hurricane shelter as well.

The appropriations request from Sen. Aaron Bean, a Republican from Fernandina Beach, stressed the dual-purpose request: a 10,000-square-foot multipurpose community center that would double as a hurricane shelter for the town’s 3,100 residents.

“The building, which would be fully air-conditioned, would include a gymnasium and community center. The proposed facility will consist of an indoor basketball court, kitchen, ADA-compliant restrooms, and a backup generator. The design and construction of the building would meet both the requirements for a hurricane/storm shelter, as defined by the ICC 500 Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters and the 7th Edition of the Florida Building Code,” explained the appropriations request.

A total of $5,144,800 would have gone to the project, all of it from nonrecurring funds. That money was to cover “architectural and engineering design, bidding and construction observation services, as well as the construction of the proposed facility by a licensed contractor.”

Hilliard was to own the facility once built, and it was expected to get heavy use with basketball and volleyball games. Additionally, non-sports events, including community meetings, family reunions, weddings, bridal showers, educational forums, and other types of meetings were contemplated for the completed space.

Both the House and Senate get millions in tax revenue to play with near the end of budget negotiations. That money is spread across different projects in what’s known in legislative parlance as the “sprinkle list.”

The Governor gets the final call, however, with the ability to exercise line-item veto power and remove individual spending items from the budget.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been the Northeast Florida correspondent for Florida Politics since 2014. He writes for the New York Post and National Review also, with previous work in the American Conservative and Washington Times and a 15+ year run as a columnist in Folio Weekly. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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