Commissioners Corner: Mayor Ben Malik
Happy New Year Cocoa Beach, we are very fortunate to be blessed with such mild weather compared to the rest of the country. Surfing Santa’s attracted quite a few people enjoying the 80 degree weather and the ability to not wear a wetsuit in December is an added bonus! Kudos to George Trosset (founder of Surfing Santa's) and all those involved with Surfing Santa's in putting on a great event that was enjoyed by people of all ages and all over the world (we had visitors from Denmark, England, and France that expressed their delight in attending this event)!
I would like to welcome our new City Manager, Jim McKnight, and look forward to working with him and the rest of the Commission in 2017. I had the pleasure of attending Mr. McKnight’s last City Council meeting in Rockledge where he spent 30 years as their City Manager. It was very evident the amount of respect the staff and Mayor/City Commission have for Mr. McKnight and Cocoa Beach is very glad to have such talent assisting our city! Special thanks to Charles Holland for his leadership as the prior City Manager!
We have lots of important tasks to discuss in the months ahead, including new City Hall/Police Department facilities, Parking Garage, completion of 520 Gateway Plan and form-based codes, upgrading other aging infrastructure including our recreation facilities, parks, ball fields, roads/drainage, A1A sidewalks, lagoon restoration/clean up (storm water, dredging, etc.).
What I am desirous as we go through this process is to increase civil engagement with more members of the community in order to get the best options that serves the people we were elected to represent. I realize we will never agree on everything and that as elected officials it is our job to listen to all parties and make the best decisions based upon the information we have from all sources, including expert recommendations, citizen input and engaging in a healthy debate of such amongst our resident and fellow elected officials with civility and respect.
My family and I just returned from a much needed vacation with a visit to Charleston, South Carolina. I was fortunate enough to meet the Mayor of Charleston, John Tecklenburg, who was the city’s economic development director under the former Mayor. Mayor Tecklenburg discussed some of the best practices the City of Charleston put into place into their downtown which is fantastic with walkable streets (no need for a car if you stay downtown!), parks, bike racks everywhere to lessen car traffic, and a variety of dining/housing/shopping venues. It seems we are on the right track as much of the groundwork we are working on in Cocoa Beach was very similar to what Charleston did to achieve such a beautiful city while preserving it’s small town charm!
Thank you for your support and allowing me to serve as your Mayor, please feel free to contact me with any suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org or my cell at 321-794-6668.