Budget conference: Farewell Elliot building, hello Memorial Park

Aerial photo Florida State Capitol Building
Lawmakers agreed to set aside $2M to demolish the building across from the Capitol and create a Memorial Park.

The Elliot Building, which was built in 1962 and stands across the street from the Old Capitol building on the corner of Monroe Street and Apalachee Parkway, will be demolished under a budget proposal agreed to by the House and Senate.

The move will pave the way for a Memorial Park to house seven memorials and monuments approved by the Legislature but still not in place on the Capitol Complex grounds, which are already crowded with memorials.

Lawmakers agreed Thursday to set aside $2 million to raze the building and build the Memorial Park. Of that, $1 million will be placed in reserve for the Department of Management Services, which can request release of the funds after submitting a plan to the Governor and legislative leaders for the park’s design and placement of the memorials.

The Elliot building was named after Fred C. Elliot, an engineer who oversaw Everglades drainage projects in the early 1900s, and housed many different agencies including most recently the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

As part of a budget-conforming bill (SB 2506, HB 5201), the Capitol Police will expand their patrols to include the R.A. Gray Building, which houses the Department of State one block away from the Capitol, but their responsibility won’t include the Florida Supreme Court, which sits in between the structures.

The chambers also agreed to spend $20 million in nonrecurring funds for Capitol Complex renovations and repairs, as the west side of the Capitol, which faces the Florida Supreme Court building, is undergoing renovations. The Senate originally wanted $25 million, while the House preferred $7.5 million.

Budget conference subcommittees will meet throughout the week to resolve differences in each area. Sen. Jason Brodeur, a Sanford Republican who leads the chamber’s agriculture and general government budget negotiations, said the remaining unresolved issues in the agriculture, environment, general government and state technology budget area are being “bumped” to the full budget conference committee.

Lawmakers must reach an agreement on a final spending plan by May 2 to meet the 72-hour “cooling off” period required by the state constitution before they can vote on the budget to avoid pushing the Regular Session past its scheduled May 5 end date.

Gray Rohrer


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