• Tavares official promises $6M wedding pavilion will pay for itself


    TAVARES, Fla. - The cost for Tavares to join the wedding business keeps digging deeper into taxpayers' pockets.

    On Friday, Channel 9's Berndt Petersen broke the news that the $3.3 million project to build a wedding pavilion at Lake Dora jumped 80 percent -- to $6 million.

    Work on the new wedding pavilion can be very loud and so can the criticism.

    "I think as far as the staff and the city manager are concerned, the buck stops there. And maybe people who passed this along should lose their jobs. Gross incompetence," said Tavares resident Jerry Wasika.

    Wasika said he can't believe the final cost for the project has jumped so much.

    "What's your reaction to the construction of this project almost doubling?" Petersen asked Tavares Mayor Robert Wolfe.

    "Well, at first it was quite a shock in a way," said Wolfe.

    City Council members were shown a laundry list of improvements that some say will put the facility in the same league as the city of Lake Mary's wedding pavilion in Seminole County.

    City administrator John Drury promises it will be a money maker.

    "The taxpayer is not paying for this. This facility pays for itself," said Drury.

    Abandoning the project at this point may not be an option. Construction crews have already driven more than six dozen concrete pilings into the lake. And the pier is starting to take shape.

    While City Council unanimously agreed to borrow more money to see the project through, Wasika is convinced taxpayers will end up in the poor house.

    "Make what we have here an expensive fishing pier and stop. Enough with spending the money," said Wasika.

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    Tavares official promises $6M wedding pavilion will pay for itself